31 August to 5 September 2015
Reviewed by Lora Hole
I was extremely excited about attending opening night of the classic film and stage production that is Annie at the Bristol Hippodrome. Set in 1933 in New York City, the story centres on a group of orphans who are trapped in a miserable orphanage run by the vile Miss Hannigan. They all dream of their parents one day coming to rescue them from their awful existence and free them from living on a diet of “mush” and daily torment from Miss Hannigan. We follow 11 year old Annie as she runs away from the orphanage and finds a friend in Sandy the dog. However this is short lived and she is soon returned to the orphanage and loses her much loved new companion.
Things take a positive turn when the super-rich Mr Warbucks goes in search of an orphan whom he wants to take care of over Christmas and Annie is chosen. There is a wonderful bond built between Annie and Mr Warbucks who soon takes on the father role and transforms Annie from having nothing and wearing rags to having everything she could ever want or need and wearing beautiful dresses and her prized coat.
There are three teams of orphans and Annie’s and our night was Team Waldorf headed by the amazing Sophia Pettit. In fact all of the children playing the orphans were incredible and sung their songs as well as, if not better, than any adult actor I have ever seen on stage. Their enthusiasm was a delight and one of my highlights was their rendition of the famous Hard Knock Life with which they almost blew the roof off the Hippodrome. Sophia as Annie hit every note perfectly and managed to pull off even the toughest of songs whilst also dancing at times. I couldn’t believe such a big voice was coming from such a little person.
Although I did want to be able to say his performance was dastardly darling and get him back for some of his harsh criticisms in his role on Strictly Come Dancing, Craig Revel Horwood played the evil Miss Hannigan brilliantly. We knew he could dance but I didn’t realise how well he could belt out a song. Craig managed to portray a character that was cruel and hateful but at the same time brought humour to the role adding an extra element to the show and reminding me of a pantomime dame.
I would definitely recommend people of all ages, including younger children, to go and see this amazing show at the Bristol Hippodrome. It is one of the best shows I have seen and with an extraordinary cast, it is unmissable.
Tickets cost from £15 to £47.50 (plus £4 transaction fee).
Annie is at the Bristol Hippodrome until 5 September 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3012.
Bristol Hippodrome, St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol, BS1 4UZ | 0844 871 3012