Arts + Entertainment

Theatre Review: Annie at The Orchard Theatre

Little girls, little girls… Miss Hannigan’s desperate refrain rings through the hallways of the New York Municipal Orphanage and echoes with pathos and despair… No, wait. That’s not right. Miss Hannigan’s the baddie, and she’s mean and cruel and those little girls are the ones in despair in this sparkling, slick, engaging production of Annie at The Orchard Theatre.

The reason I almost forgot who was good and who was bad in this show was that Craig Revel Horwood’s portrayal of the tyrannical Miss Hannigan was a masterpiece, combining some truly impressive singing with some excellent dancing, along with the ability to act whilst tottering around in heels. So good was he at all of this combined that the audience instantly fell in love with Miss Hannigan, despite knowing that she was wicked. And Craig certainly stole the show – every time he appeared the audience were right there with him, excited for the next one liner, booming baritone, or expressive gesture that would give them a giggle or leave them slack-jawed in awe.

Having never seen Craig Revel Horwood in anything other than good old Strictly, this was something of a revelation to me and to my 8 year old who had accompanied me to the theatre. We were both totally enthralled.

But Craig wasn’t the only star turn in the show. In fact, so high was the production level and so on point was the dancing and the singing, that everyone deserves some mention. The little girls previously mentioned were incredible, and little orphan Annie herself was so confident that we knew we were in for a treat as soon as it all started. And Alex Bourne as the tough, work-obsessed, soon to be softened Daddy Warbucks was both charming and stern in turn, making the character nice and rounded. Grace – Carolyn Maitland – was superb, and Lily and Rooster (Jenny Gayner and Richard Meer) were excellent fun too. And who could forget Amber who played Sandy?

Annie is a delight, and highly recommended – you already know the songs so it’s like slipping under a comfort blanket of entertainment but with added sparkle and pizzazz that makes it zing with energy and fun.

Fab-u-lous, darling!

Annie is at The Orchard Theatre until 22nd June

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