Reviewed by Louise Watts
In 1982, Annie the film was released and everyone quickly fell in love with little red headed orphan Annie. The film is now an iconic movie and is watched by thousands of people over Christmas every year! Now, it has been adapted for the stage and we can see orphan Annie come to life in the theatre.
Last night, I went to the Orchard Theatre in Dartford with my 16-year-old daughter to see the opening night of Annie, starring Craig Revel Horwood as the drunk Miss Hannigan. The story is pretty much as in the film but adapted in places to suit the stage. All your favourite songs are there including the very well-known “Tomorrow” as well as a few new ones.
Annie was played by Ava Smith who was making her professional debut. She was absolutely fantastic and it was clear to see exactly why she had been cast for the role. Her singing, acting and all-round performance was very impressive for one so young and I am sure she has a bright future ahead in the world of musical theatre.
Miss Hannigan was played by the delightful but at times harsh, Craig Revel Horwood whose performance was a straight 10 in my eyes. He played the part perfectly and had the audience laughing with delight. I, along with many other women, in the audience could not help but admire his beautiful long legs, any woman would be proud to have pins like that!
The six other children in the cast who play Annie’s friends in the orphanage were all incredible and I was amazed when reading their credits that children of their ages can have achieved so much. They truly are wonderfully talented and dedicated children and deserve all the praise and success in the world.
The set was brilliant and any changes were done very cleverly to minimise any disruption. I particularly liked Oliver Warbucks house which was very impressive. All costumes were fitting and very similar to that in the film. My favourite scene was at the movies with the swing tap dancing. I absolutely love seeing tap dancing in musicals as it shows a whole new level of talent amongst the cast and is an absolute delight to watch.
The Orchard Theatre was buzzing and there were very few empty seats in the house. The staff were polite and eager to help as always. Parking is easy in the adjacent Orchards car park and at the cheap price of £3 for the evening, one cannot complain.
The show ended with a well-deserved standing ovation. It was an absolutely fantastic, thoroughly enjoyable evening. A true family must see.
Tickets cost from £24 to £46 (booking fees may apply).
The Orchard Theatre, Home Gardens, Dartford, DA1 1ED | 01322 220000