So, as the UK swelters in a heatwave, the forecast will most certainly predict that the sun will be out tomorrow and like it or not the next few days too - however in this case we are taking a break from the near constant weather themed conversations and instead heading away from talking about the actual sunshine, and instead directing ourselves towards the metaphorical sunshine of hope, optimism and enthusiam that tomorrow will bring.
The smash-hit production of the much loved film ANNIE comes to the Birmingham Hippodrome for 3 weeks only, direct from London’s West End and as fans of the original (and remake) were thrilled to be gifted the opportunity to visit on launch night. The story is loved and well known by every generation of children and adults alike and most (but not all) of the familiar timeless songs are here however this production breathes some new life into the story with the added bonus of a new cast and new songs too.
Starring Jodie Prenger (winner of the BBC’s I’d Do Anything, Oliver!, Spamalot, Calamity Jane) as the tyrannical Miss Hannigan, the audience was given a more familiar 'true to movie' performance vs the representation delivered in previous shows starring Craig Revel Horwood's deliciously over the top characture of the Miss Hannigan character - both equally satisfying in different ways.
Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. We all know the story of how her luck changes when she’s chosen to spend a fairytale Christmas with famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Meanwhile, spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search for her true family.
The tale has always been about Annie piecing together the missing parts of her life whilst enriching and adding to Daddy Warbuck's shallow existence this is fantastically reflected in the set design which shows puzzle pieces that glow during scene stages. I was unsure of the relevance of the set design at first but on reflection proved a great way to show how the story evolves and comes together, not only for Annie but for the key characters too.
As always, there has to be a soft spot for Daddy Warbucks and his assistant Grace, who were both fantastic in their roles and very true to the original movie, however even more impressive was the Easy Street performance which combined impressive choreography, great character and charm in Miss Hannigan, her evil brother Rooster and his pick-pocket wife Lily proved to be a highlight for me.
The young cast are captivating and we left the show convinced that regardless of any heatwave, the sun really will come out tomorrow! If you want a live action adaptation of the original movie that combine familiarity with the charm of the stage, then this is the show for you!
Tickets start from £24 and as the show only runs until the 11th August at the Birmingham Hippodrome, make sure you don't miss out.
Directed by Nikolai Foster, Book by Thomas Meehan, Music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Martin Charnin.