Lesley Joseph – Miss Hannigan
Alex Bourne – Daddy Warbucks
Anya Evans – Annie
Jonny Fines – Rooster
Djalenga Scott – Lily
Holly Dale Spencer – Grace
Date – Wednesday 30th March 2016
Venue – Sunderland Empire
Annie is the story of a young orphan in New York City who has been waiting for her parents to return and get her for 11 years. They left a note something that we are constantly reminded about along with half of a silver locket so they can prove they are her parents. That gives her hope and even helps the other girls she lives with in the orphanage. It’s not a nice life though with Miss Hannigan forcing them to work constantly and cleaning the place. But Annie is about to receive her golden ticket and the chance of a much better life.
This is the third time I have seen Annie the first time being 17 years ago when I was only 11. I had always been a big fan of the film and enjoyed it a lot, not that truly awful remake though. Then the last time I saw this one must have been about 9/10 years ago now. The reason I wanted to see it again was very much for Lesley Joseph and she certainly did not disappoint! It seems to be a very different production which certainly isn’t a bad thing as older shows do need to be shaken up every now and then.
Alex Bourne was a very strong Daddy Warbucks I really thought his stage presence was good and he worked well with Anya Evans who took the role of Annie at this performance (Team Liberty) especially when it came to “I don’t need anything but you”. It was also good to see Lewis Bradley in a show as I remember him from Any Dream Will Do and being the final to become Joseph (which I am guessing is now a lot of years ago).
“Easy Street” is easily my favourite musical number, I know probably not the most common of choices. It was perfectly nailed by Lesley Joseph, Jonny Fines and Djalenga Scott with a brilliant dance number to go along with the wicked song. Jonny Fines was such a great Rooster really bringing something different to the role, his singing reminded me of the style found in “In the Heights” which I thought really brought something else to the show.
Lesley Joseph is everything you would hope for from Miss Hannigan the stage presence was amazing and I did really feel excited when she first burst onto the stage. Throughly enjoyed her rendition of “Little Girls” and the energy put into the role especially the dancing in “Easy Street” you really would not think that she is now 70 years old. A truly energetic performance I felt privileged to watch. Not forgetting getting to meet the lovely woman at the stage door!
Obviously with Annie we get to see many talented children on stage and bring us the much loved and well known songs from the show. Each putting in good performances with the character they were playing. Especially Anya Evans as Annie she did really well with Tomorrow and Maybe also having a good presence on stage to compete with the more experienced actors.
While this isn’t my favourite musical this production really is worth seeing, as it brings some differences not forgetting the great thing about seeing a musical on stage hearing some songs which aren’t in film versions. That has to be a massive plus about attending the theatre as they do keep changing the well known stories and shows from time to time! Annie is on a UK Tour until June 2016, so still a couple of months left to catch it.