Review: Annie at The Mayflower Theatre

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Brilliant

A heart warming performance with infectious songs, all performed by a supremely talented cast.

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Annie, one of the world’s best loved family musicals, came to the Mayflower Theatre this week. The new production, directed by Nikolai Foster, reworks the classic musical to keep it fresh and relevant.

The production features some of the show’s most popular and memorable songs including ‘Tomorrow’, ‘Maybe’ and ‘Easy Street.’ The vocals, from all cast members, were absolutely stunning. Annie’s fellow orphans, dressed in shabby smock dresses and tough boots, deserve a special mention though. They delivered each song with an infectious enthusiasm, which brought a smile to the face of every member of the audience.

The production stars Strictly Come Dancing Judge Craig Revel Horwood as the desperate Miss Hannigan, who loves alcoholic drinks much more than the girls she is supposed to care for. Horwood first emerges onto the stage in a tiny playsuit, adorned with a greying wig, dramatic make up and towering heels. In an earlier interview, Horwood said he’d like to make an impact onstage – and he certainly achieved this!

Meanwhile Annie is played by Isabella Pappas who, at the age of 12, has been nominated for an Olivier Award. Pappas was superb in the lead role and adapted it to make it her own. Pappas’ Annie combines optimism and bravery in the face of adversity, along with a cheeky and playful sense of humour. Annie’s dog Sandy, played by the adorable Amber, also drew a special cheer when she performed onstage, accompanying Annie after her escape from Miss Hannigan’s miserable orphanage.

The set, featuring clinical metal bed frames and thin sheets, illustrates the importance of love within the tale; although Miss Hannigan clearly doesn’t care for the girls, they rally around and care for each other. Similarly, the set with large multicoloured jigsaw pieces in the background, also shows Annie’s confusion in a world in which she has no family and nowhere to belong. However, when she finds not only a home, but also a family, in the mansion of gentle billionaire Oliver Warbucks, it seems as though all the pieces fall comfortably into place.

Annie is at The Mayflower Theatre until the 1st of August. Tickets are here.

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