Sarah Crown, Theatre Correspondent

Annie - The Musical

The Cast of Annie

Picture credit: Paul Coltas
The Cast of Annie Picture credit: Paul Coltas
Written in the 1970’s by lyricist Martin Charnin, and based upon the book The Life and Hard Times of Little Orphan Annie. Annie’ is set in New York immediately following the great depression of the 1930’s when mass unemployment made for tough times for all. Annie tells the tale of a spirited, young orphan forced to live a miserable existence in Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. By chance, Annie is chosen by the wealthy Daddy (Oliver) Warbucks to spend the festive season with him and his secretary. He enjoyed the little girl’s company so much that he decides to adopt her and, to do everything properly, offers a reward to anyone who may know who or where Annie’s real parents are. Unfortunately for Annie, Miss Hannigan and her brother, Rooster, have other ideas and assisted by Lily attempt to fool Warbucks that they are Annie’s parents and thus are entitled to the $50,000 reward.

Harlie Barthram as Annie with Sandy
Picture credit: Paul Coltas
Harlie Barthram as Annie with Sandy Picture credit: Paul Coltas
It is said that you should never take to the stage or screen with either children or animals and this is very true as the stars of this particular show are undoubtedly Annie and her fellow orphan chums along with Sandy, the dog.

Annie was played to great effect by a very talented Harlie Barthram who is certainly a name to look out for in the future. All of the children were full of enthusiasm for their song and dance routines but especially so for the well-known numbers such as It’s a hard knock life and Tomorrow. Sandy was impeccably behaved throughout and certainly knew of each pocket where his treats could be found!

As you may expect, Craig Revel-Horwood was fab-u-lous as the permanently gin soaked Miss Hannigan. He clearly relishes the role and more than does it justice with some well-executed and stylish choreography.

Fabulous vocals and an imposing stage presence were delivered by Alex Bourne taking the part of Daddy Warbucks, who was ably supported by his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, played by Amelia Adams and his coterie of loyal servants.

The creative team of director Nikolai Foster, set and costume designer Colin Richmond, lighting designer Ben Cracknell and Sound Designer Richard Brooker have much to be proud of as this is an excellent production of a well loved musical. The set is slick with consistently smooth and effective scene changes whilst the choreography for the dance routines is energetic and imaginative and well executed by the supporting cast.

The orchestra was under the direction of Joshua Griffith and his small but competent team were excellent if a little loud at times to the extent that their music drowned the lyrics out completely. This was especially so during the first act of the show but was not so noticeable thereafter.

Annie is a well-known and feel-good musical and although I didn’t enjoy the show as much as I had expected, the entire cast received a standing ovation at the end of the performance so, safe to say, it was a good evening’s entertainment should you fancy a night out at the theatre.

Sheffield Lyceum Until 21st October
Tour Dates:
Hull New Theatre 23rd -28th October