The iconic, well-loved, family musical is on in Stoke-on-Trent.
Based in the 1930’s, an orphan called Annie, still dreams to meet her parents, 11 years since they left her.
Annie gets taken in by a billionaire, Mr. Warbucks who falls for Annie’s unique charm, and decides to adopt her.
There are some twists in the story; as the orphanage worker Miss Hannigan plots with her brother and his girlfriend, to pretend to be Annie’s parents, to get a massive $50,000 from the doting billionaire.
The classic musical is on at The Regent Theatre, which is the productions final tour venue. The musical (Book by Thomas Meehan, Music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Martin Charnin) is a multi-award winning show, and this production does it so much justice.
I have to start by saying that the choreography by Nick Winston is exceptional. There is not a moment missed from start to finish, and all of the actors have thrived with the choreography style.
One of the first musical numbers ‘Hard Knock Life’ has been choreographed very cleverly; the sounds of brooms, pans and other objects have been embedded to bring the piece to life.
I could write the whole review about the choreographer’s talents; especially in ‘Easy Street’, ‘Hooverville’ and ‘I Don’t Need Anything But You’, so I think it’s safe to say that the choreography is extremely exciting and the audience won’t go home bored.
The set makes the production extremely impressive. Around the boarder of the stage are enormous jig-saw pieces that outline the youth of the play, but also shows the effort that has been made to make the staging extra special.
Colin Richmond, the set designer, has done a great job opening the first scenes with six children’s beds, all with their own hanging lamps, which completely sets the scene for the children’s bedroom. As the show moves into Mr. Warbucks’ mansion, the contrast in the set couldn’t be any more apparent; which sets the two worlds apart and most importantly brings a modern feel to the musical.
Director Nikolai Foster has definitely made the most of the stage throughout; making sure that the audience always has something to watch.
He has used the ensemble brilliantly to set the scenes, and they are used as so many different characters including the homeless, politicians and domestic staff, all of which add to the atmosphere and are believable.
Speaking of the ensemble – the actors are excellent and their skills and stamina did not go unnoticed. Ensemble members never have an easy job, and sometimes don’t get enough credit for their hard work.
But I really couldn’t keep my eyes off them, especially Blaise Colangelo who stood out to me from start to finish. Blaise played many roles throughout, including Annette, Connie, and Morganthau.
Annie and the rest of the gang are fantastic child actors, all of whom are clearly having the time of their lives on stage. Their accents are impressive, and even with their high voices; most of their dialogue is understood.
Mia Lakha, who plays Annie has a lovely voice, and a genuine, authentic stage presence. She sings ‘Maybe’ and ‘Tomorrow’ extremely well.
Lesley Joseph plays Miss Hannigan as she should be played; dry, sarcastic and nasty. Richard Meek and Jenny Gayner who play the ‘baddies’ Rooster and Lily, are outstanding in their roles, and will have you captivated and believing their every word and movement.
‘Easy Street’ sang by the three of them is a stand out moment in the show; it is dark, charming, funny and a massive contrast to the rest of the show. This is thanks to their performances, and the excellent choreography.
Carolyn Mairland who plays Grace Farrell, the secretary of Mr. Warbucks, has a beautifully elegant look and voice, and adds so pleasantly to the cast. Mr. Warbucks, played by Alex Bourne, is a loveable character, played by an understated, naturalistic actor who brings some reality to the story.
Overall, this musical is fun, enjoyable and uplifting for all the family, with so much to look at, meaning that the evening will fly by. You will leave the theatre smiling and singing all the songs.
Annie runs until Saturday 23 November 2019. To book tickets go to www.atgtickets.com/shows/annie/regent-theatre/ or call 0800 912 6971.