Sunday, February 25

Annie – Regent Theatre

Annie, a classic musical adaptation much loved by global audiences. I had the privilege of watching the musical adaptation of this classic film on its UK Tour, in the large-scale Stoke Regent Stage. With countless revivals, I was intrigued to see how this show has evolved and adapted since the last time I watched this production, many years ago.

The tone was set from the beginning, by our 7 main orphanage residents rushing onto stage, before the show had even begun, immersing our audience in their harsh reality from the outset and creating an electric build-up within the theatre. With direction from Nikolai Foster and choreography from Nick Winston, I knew before the show begun, that we were in the comfortable hands of true professionals.

Having been many years since visiting the grandeur of The Regent Theatre, I had forgotten quite the stature of the stage, which was used to its full extent throughout our production. From intricate doorways, placed centre stage floor-to-ceiling for our orphanage and Hanningan’s office scenes, to Warbuck’s house draped in Christmas decorations, presents and extravagant decor all across our stage.

Our cast was comprised of professionals, carrying their strong characters off to a T and all blending together seamlessly during company scenes.

Young orphan Annie was portrayed by Zoe Akinyosade, who shares the role with two other young performers. To see a young performer with such confidence, passion and maturity within her role was truly a sight to behold. The friendships she formed throughout the show seemed perfectly paired, and the relationship between herself, Grace and Warbucks definitely brought a tear to the eye of many audience members by the end of the performance.

Playing our ruthless yet hilarious Miss Hannigan was the electric Jodie Prenger, delivering constant energy to the stage whenever she stepped foot upon it. Her vocals during ‘Little Girls’ and the song’s reprise were show-stopping and her acting through every word she sung was truly authentic.

Oliver Warbucks was played by Alex Bourne, who had a real character transformation throughout our show – from cold billionaire to warm, caring father figure to his newly adopted daughter. His rich vocal tone was a treat to listen to during his solo stylings, and once again his relationship with Annie was beautiful.

Amelia Adams played Grace Farrell – and it wasn’t difficult to see why she was a perfect match for this role. Her constant delicate persona was a charm to watch, Adams provided a constant rock for Annie from the outset. Her vocals specifically during ‘I think you’re gonna like it here’ shone and blended perfectly with Annie’s to create a well-rounded and entertaining number.

The lighting plot was intricate and detailed. The lighting for specific dance numbers, such as ‘We’d like to thank you Herbert Hoover’ helped add substance to the performances and complemented all performers hugely. The lighting throughout the show was extremely effective and was also used to show the audience the timeframe of the show. Lighting by Heather Robertson and Ben Shillito.

The sound for the most part was crystal clear, excluding a few minor delays in actor’s microphones being turned on. The band’s sound was perfectly balanced with our performers and the levels of sound were spot on.

Following on, our band (headed up by musical director Joshua Griffith) was phenomenal, and audience would have been none the wiser if the musical accompaniment was pre-recorded – they were absolutely note-perfect and additionally were very sympathetic to the actors on stage.

Overall, I found this musical production of Annie to be a hit. I watched the show on its opening night at The Regent, and unfortunately this show was far from being a sell-out – for reasons extremely unbeknown to any audience member. I would highly encourage you to book your tickets – after this opening night it wouldn’t be surprising if the tickets fly out in a matter of hours.

Playing until 13th May,

Reviewer: Grace Annabel

Reviewed: 8th May 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.