28 July to 1 August 2015
Reviewed by Natalie Kitchen
Like a lot of people, I loved the film Annie when I was a kid and I used to watch it every Christmas. So I was excited to be invited to the opening night of Annie at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. Annie originally started out as a Broadway production in 1977 before being made into the 1982 film that most remember and more recently being remade. Set in 1930’s New York City, it tells the story of Annie, a 11 year old living in an orphanage run by little girl hating Miss Hannigan. We follow Annie as she gets the chance to stay with billionaire Oliver Warbucks and trying to find her real parents. As I had only ever seen the film it was lovely to see the stage version and to hear songs from the original show that were missed out of the film version.
Heading up the cast was Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood as Miss Hannigan. From the moment he stepped on stage he managed to bring a lot of humour into the role. He can sing and dance and put in a good, believable performance. It can be too easy for a female character being played by a man to become a bit pantomime-like but you didn’t get that with his version of Miss Hannigan. Alex Bourne did a great job of portraying Oliver Warbucks and showing how the character softened as he spent more time with Annie. Holly Dale Spencer played Warbucks’ secretary Grace Farrell and she has a lovely singing voice. Jonny Fines as Rooster and Djalenga Scott as Lily did a terrific job of putting in a good comic performance as they pose as Annie’s parents.
But the real stars of the show were without a doubt the children. There are 3 Annie’s and 3 groups of orphans. Our performance was by Team Astoria and the little girls playing the orphans were amazing. The singing and the dancing was brilliant. The stand out of the show was Isabella Pappas with her performance of orphan Annie. She put a real emotion into her performance and her voice was amazing. She is definitely a talent to look out for in the future. Of course I have to mention Amber the dog who played Sandy who put a smile on everyone’s face everytime she ran across the stage.
The sets were fabulous and showed the real nitty gritty of life in NYC after the great depression. The choreography was brilliant, as were the vocals, and the astounding performances by the cast make this a must see show.
The Mayflower is a truly wonderful theatre and the staff are both very friendly and welcoming.
Tickets cost from £20 to £42.50 (booking fees may apply).
Annie is at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton until 1 August 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 02380 711811.
Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE | 02380 711811