Image Credit: centre Miranda Hart (Miss Hannigan) with the Orphans in Annie at the Piccadilly Theatre – Photo credit Paul Coltas
This fabulous feel-good musical at the Piccadilly Theatre in London’s West End, based on Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie comic strip, is full of enthusiasm delivered by a brilliant cast who brought fun and enjoyment to the audience, and doubtless many more audiences to come.
Nikolai Foster’s direction provides us with a lively production whilst also retaining the subtleties of Thomas Meehan’s book. Choreographer Nick Winston creates some spirited ensemble dances, particularly with the orphan girls who produced some magical moments. Well done to Casting Director, Beth Eden for discovering this incredibly talented group of youngsters. Foster’s Annie arrives in the West End 40 years after the original Broadway production opened in 1977 and having received seven Tony awards including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.
Musical Director George Dyer brings the music of Charles Strouse to life, with popular songs, including ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Hard Knock Life’. Martin Charnin’s lyrics enable the feisty young orphans to portray the life of 1930s Manhattan.
Colin Richmond’s set has smooth transitions throughout, and is to be commended. The Lighting by Ben Cracknell adds to the atmosphere.
All said and done, it is the cast that are at the heart of this production, and they certainly have plenty of heart. This London musical Annie is an overwhelmingly positive performance from all making sure that when the audience leave the auditorium at the end of the show, they leave with a heart full of joy and song.
The cast consists of Miranda Hart who plays Miss Hannigan with Alex Bourne as Daddy Warbucks, Holly Dale Spencer as Grace Farrell, Jonny Fines as Rooster and Djalenga Scott as Lily. The title role of Annie is shared by Madeleine Haynes, 13-years old from Hadley Wood, Barnet, Lola Moxom, 12-years old from Rochester, Kent and Ruby Stokes, 12-years old from Hampshire. There are a further three teams of young performers who play the girls in Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Amber, a 4-year-old Labradoodle, plays Annie’s dog Sandy. Completing the company are Russell Wilcox, Bobby Delaney, Keisha Atwell, Sophie Ayers, Nic Gibney, Patrick Harper, Ben Harrold, George Ioannides, Megan Louch, Benjamin Mundy, Ben Oliver, Heather Scott-Martin, Anne Smith, Kate Somerset How and Katie Warsop.
Review by Sophia Pagham
Annie is at the Piccadilly Theatre, 16 Denman St, Soho, London W1D 7DY
Official website for Annie is at http://www.anniewestend.com/