Little orphan Annie

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The smash hit 2018/2019 production of Annie comes to Southend this half term week and it will not disappoint.

This wonderful production was full of energy from the start and starred the hilarious Craig Revel Horwood as Miss Hannigan.

Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, the brave 11 year old Annie is forced to live a life of misery at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage.

Her luck soon changes when she’s chosen to spend a fairytale Christmas with famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks played expertly by Alex Bourne.

Meanwhile, spiteful Miss Hannigan, her brother Mr Rooster and his latest girlfriend Lily, have other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search for her true family.

The three ‘badies’ as they were called by my 6 year old daughter, bounced off each other brilliantly and clearly had chemistry together.

Ava Smith in the lead role of Annie was absolutely perfect for the role. Petite but with a voice and presense that rightly demands the spotlight, but enough clever stagecraft so as not to come across as if demanding ‘look at me, look at me’.

The unforgettable songs, It’s The Hard-Knock Life, Easy Street, I Don’t Need Anything But You and Tomorrow, were sung faultlessly by every cast member. I didn’t realise Craig Revel Horwood could sing so well!

Annie is definitely the musical where the smaller ones in the cast get the chance to shine and there’s no denying they steal the show here.

The girls lead by Ava, lit up the stage with their energy and their sassiness. This was a larger than life production which certainly held all the children’s attention in the audience, from start to finish.

I went because my daughter loves Annie and I have watched the 1982 film several times so it was lovely to watch an updated, modern day version which I though was brilliant.

Annie is one of the best loved musicals of all time, whether its on stage or in the movie versions of both 1982 and 2014. This production certainly lived up to the modern expectation of such a childrens classic.
By Abi Yates

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