First, a confession. Like many people, I’d never bothered going to see Annie, thinking it was a sugary confection aimed at young girls and their mums.
How wrong can you be? This wow of a show features music, song, dance and a rags-to-riches story which dazzled at Nottingham Royal Concert Hall.
With a fast-moving set offering a vivid contrast between a rundown orphanage run by the evil Miss Hannigan and billionaire Oliver Warbucks’ huge New York mansion, Annie has it all in spades. But there is far more to it than a tale of a young-red-headed orphan girl knowing nothing of her parents.
The background is the Great Depression of 1930s New York. Roosevelt’s New Deal offered hope to the US, just as Annie finds hope, as expressed in the iconic Tomorrow and its reprises.
The musical score is superb and Miss Hannigan is one of the meatiest parts imaginable. Here Lesley Joseph is quite outstanding. Spiteful to the extreme, her life centres around the gin bottle and making the inmates’ lives hell. Her series of expressions as she realises that there might be money to be made out of Annie and Warbucks is a standout moment.
Annie’s chance meeting with Grace Farrell (Holly Dale Spencer), who works as a personal assistant to Warbucks, changes her life and Alex Bourne makes a convincing entrepreneur, on first name terms with FDR and J. Edgar Hoover.
Three young Annies – Elise Blake, Anya Evans and Madeleine Hayes – alternate throughout the tour.
Click here or visit www.trch.co.uk for tickets for Annie which runs until Saturday March 26.