Annie, UK tour review

“a feel good show with some classic songs..”

‘Annie’ is embarking on another UK tour this year. It is the story of 11-year-old orphan Annie. She decides to run away to find her parents who left her with half a silver locket and a promise to return. Annie gets caught and brought back to villainous Miss Hannigan. However, Annie’s luck is about to change. Grace Farrell, the personal secretary of billionaire Oliver Warbucks pays a visit to the orphanage as Warbucks wants to invite an orphan to spend Christmas with him. Miss Hannigan doesn’t want Annie to go, but Grace is drawn to Annie.

At the mansion, Annie can’t believe her luck at the new surroundings and the special treatment she receives. Warbucks begins to feel a deep connection with Annie and after spending much time with her decides he would like to adopt her. Annie doesn’t want this, as she explains her parents are coming back for her. Warbucks promises he will find her parents, but with a money reward it seems some people’s intentions aren’t as good as they seem….

This musical has a reputation for being a bit cheesy, but the performance I saw was far from it. It starts with scenes from the orphanage with a group of children that perform incredibly well, with good voices and spot on timing with the dance routines during “It’s The Hard Knock Life’.  Annie was played by Victoria Sian Lewis, her accent was perfect and she had an air of confidence on stage.

Miss Hannigan soon appears on stage played by Su Pollard.  Su plays Miss Hannigan incredibly well, very comedic. Miss Hannigan’s mean ways and her drunken nature were brought out perfectly by Su, and she had great rapport with other characters especially her brother Rooster, played by Philip Andrew.  Su’s singing voice is also good but for me, the comedic moments shone through, they were the strong aspects of her performance.

David McAlister as the billionaire Oliver Warbucks was incredibly believable. He has a strong singing voice and good stage presence. I particularly enjoyed his scenes with Annie. There was also a good connection with Grace Ferrell (Simone Craddock).

Simone Craddock played Grace Ferrell, Warbuck’s personal secretary. I thought Simone acted the role very well. Her voice was very pleasant to listen to. Her chemistry with David was sparkling and together their relationship with Victoria as Annie was very credible.

There were some funny parts from other characters such as Drake played by Ashley Knight. It was also nice to see Any Dream Will Do alumni Rob McVeigh on stage in three roles of Bundles McCluskey, Bert Healy and Howe. He sang “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile.” He has a lovely voice and acted well.

Annie is a feel good show with some classic songs such a “Maybe”, “It’s The Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow”. It’s an enjoyable evening out, well worth going to see.

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