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“A visual & auditory feast” – Reviewing Annie at Hull New Theatre

Showing now at Hull New Theatre is that much-loved modern classic musical “Annie.

Based on the 1977 movie Annie, it tells the tale of an 11-year-old redhead orphan who longs for her parents to return after she is left on the doorstep of the orphanage as a baby.  She strongly believes things will get better ‘Tomorrow’ despite her ‘Hard-Knock Life” with the other orphans, it’s certainly not ‘Easy Street’ where these kids live.  

Annie, played by  Zoe Akinyosade was bright, lively and came across to the audience brilliantly.  She had a beautiful, clear singing voice and along with her fellow orphans, she had the audience spellbound from the start.  The orphans songs were brilliantly sung and their choreography was spot on.

No Annie cast is complete without Sandy, the dog played brilliantly this evening by Amber, who, from the programme, is a seasoned performer.  She was an absolute delight.

“Annie,” starring Craig Revel-Horwood, is an absolutely heart-warming musical that brings the classic story to life. Revel-Horwood’s portrayal of the iconic character of Miss Hannigan is nothing short of spectacular. His commanding stage presence, impeccable dance moves, and strong vocals add a new layer of depth to the character, making him both revolting, intimidating and charming at the same time.

Revel-Horwood’s chemistry with the young actress playing Annie is sharp, creating a believable carer who hates kids type of relationship that tugs at the heartstrings of everyone in the audience.

Daddy Warbucks (Alex Bourne) and his secretary Grace Farrell (Amelia Adams) were superb and the interaction between both characters and Annie was warm and endearing.  Both had super singing voices and great acting skills.

The ensemble was slick, with perfect timing and looking at them, it was clear that alongside the choreographer, Revel-Horwood had done some coaching for the steps.  They danced their hearts out and were on and off stage with multiple costume changes throughout. 

The entire production is a visual and auditory feast, with stunning choreography, vibrant costumes, and a set design that transports the audience straight into the heart of 1930s New York City. 

What truly sets this production apart is the seamless integration of classic tunes like “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life” with fresh, modern energy.   The stage is brilliantly and brightly lit with modern scenery in contrast to the era it is set in; depression era America.  The costumes are vibrant on the adults and appropriately dull on the kids.  Just as you imagine them to be.

Revel-Horwood’s musical prowess shines through in every number, leaving the audience tapping their feet and humming along. His performance injects the show with a perfect blend of humour and emotion, making it a truly memorable theatrical experience.

In summary, “Annie”  is a must-see musical that captivates audiences of all ages. With outstanding performances, dazzling choreography, and a timeless story of hope and family, this production is a testament to the enduring magic of musical theatre. Revel-Horwood’s charismatic portrayal adds a new layer of brilliance to the show, making it a standout performance in the world of musicals.   You WILL be singing all the way home.

On Saturday the role of Miss Hannigan will be played by Jodie Prenger.  I have seen Jodie perform in the past, and she is a powerful singer and her stage presence is commanding.

Please check your journey to the theatre this week, with the bridge crossing the river at Kingswood, the traffic had backed up to Beverley both on the by-pass and the Dunswell Road.  Journeys are taking 40-50 minutes longer.

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