Reviewed by Lindsay Burton
With my little girl in tow, we made our way through the buzzing reception at the Royal Concert Hall Nottingham. With folks queuing out the door, we knew we were in for a very special evening. With a stage adorned with scruffy, unkempt dormitory beds, we settled into our seats and prepared ourselves for Annie!
Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie (Freya Yates) is forced to live a life of misery at the orphanage with gin-loving matron Miss Hannigan (Craig Revel Horwood) whose Depression-era maltreatment of the little mite makes you feel such sympathy. Annie’s luck soon changes when she’s chosen to spend a magical fairytale Christmas with famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks (Alex Bourne) and his right-hand lady, Grace Farrell (Carolyn Maitland). Meanwhile, spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search for her true family with the help of her recently released from prison brother, Rooster (Richard Meek) and his girlfriend Lily (Jenny Gayner). Easy Street has never been slicker, slyer or more brilliantly performed, definitely one of the pieces that really made the show for me!
As for the rest of the show: Nikolai Foster’s revival has such style and confidence, displaying a striking jigsaw-puzzle design by Colin Richmond which majestically slots together.
The copper-bottomed numbers like Tomorrow and Hard Knock Life keep coming but the lesser-known songs too, giving a sense of old-world charisma (NYC, You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile) and accompanied by fantastic choreographed showstoppers by Nick Winston. And there are contagious mass eruptions of radiant cuteness. Annie and her fellow dormitory ragamuffins (Team Chrysler) are unstoppable when they get in their determined, boot-stomping stride – with a talented four-footed star working her little paws off too as Annie’s adopted mutt Sandy (Amber).
Special mention has to be made of Freya Yates vocals. WOW! I was blown away by the talent and confidence this young girl shared with us in this role. We will see you in the West End young one, of that you can bet your bottom dollar!
Tickets cost from £20 to £44.50 (booking fees may apply).
Annie is at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham from 20-25 May 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.trch.co.uk or call the box office on 0115 989 5555.
Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Theatre Square, Nottingham, NG1 5ND