Annie – The Musical, is a vibrant, uplifting powerhouse of a production, which is currently showing at Leicester’s Curve theatre.
Right from the beginning of the show, the audience is drawn into the story of a group of orphan girls, who are living under the tyrannical watch of Miss Hannigan – a role played to perfection by the magnetic Craig Revel Horwood.
In a stroke of genius casting, the Strictly Come Dancing judge is dragged up to the max for the role, tottering around the stage in heels and a full face of make-up. He embraces the character with great confidence and unmistakeable flair. From the moment he arrived on stage – I for one couldn’t take my eyes off the striking star, who gave a crowd pleasing performance – and then some.
Of course, anyone who knows anything about Mr Revel Horwood will know that he can dance. That’s his background. But I wasn’t prepared for the voice which bellowed out of him as he sang his show stopping number – ‘Little Girls.’ What a set of pipes – simply ‘fab-u-lous darling!’
Also stealing the show of course, was the titular character of Annie, who was played by Zoe Akinyosade.
She put on a perfectly charming performance and raised the roof with a stunning rendition of ‘Tomorrow’ – a song which was sung with such unbelievable gusto.
Another number which impressed me was the performance of ‘Hard Knock Life’ – given by Annie and the orphans towards the beginning of the show.
The girls dynamic vocals pierced through the Curve, and the group attacked their sharp, energetic dance routine with striking accuracy. The feisty orphans were perfectly in sync as they stomped around to the iconic tune, raising the audiences adrenaline with every beat.
Among the gaggle of girls is seven-year-old Suki Hillier, who stood out due to being smaller (and younger) than the rest of the girls – but equally fierce (and utterly adorable!)
Playing the character of Molly, the pint sized performer certainly made a big impression on me in her professional debut.
Like all great musicals, Annie has a fantastic story and a plot which takes you on an emotional journey.
There is a sweet optimism to the story, and I went away singing the songs, and feeling optimistic and uplifted. A complete joy from start to finish and an experience which I’ll still be thinking about tomorrow, and for many days and weeks to come
Catch Annie at Leicester’s Curve theatre until Saturday, March 4.
By Louise Steel