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Reviewed: Annie at Curve

A touching commentary on society today.

Annie, based on the book by Thomas Meehan, was an incredibly relevant show mixing both social commentaries with Broadway pizzazz. We saw Annie at Curve theatre in Leicester.

This musical continues to be a popular show because, like all great musicals, it has a fantastic storyline that takes you on an emotional journey teaching you a lot about yourself.

People often think musicals lack substance. However, all great musicals - including Annie -

are socially relevant, challenge injustice in society, and offer new perspectives.

The show deals with themes of extreme poverty and sees children pushed to the margins of society, made to live in the most distressing circumstances.

Annie tells the story of little orphan Annie, who dreams of a reunion with her long lost parents. Instead, she finds herself welcomed into the home of Daddy Warbucks, who persuades the new president, Franklin D Roosevelt, to help find Annie’s parents. However, Miss Hannigan (who runs the orphanage), her brother Rooster and his girlfriend Lily have other ideas and attempt to make a financial gain at Annie’s expense.

Annie is well-known from the movie versions and previous stage productions, but this particular stage interpretation celebrates Harold Gray’s original source material.

The stage design is a huge jigsaw puzzle, which is a metaphor for Annie’s life as she tries to put pieces of her life together trying to find the missing piece.

The costumes well reflected New York in the 30s, and every detail had been considered, featuring lots of hues of lilac, browns, pink and orange.

I have never had the chance to visit NYC but whilst watching this production I felt like I was transported there. It was also interesting to see an extraordinary place like NYC through a young person’s eyes, everything seemed bigger and even more glaring.

Choreography by Nick Winston is fun and energetic. The casting director auditioned 2,000 girls to find the perfect actors for this production. It was also great to see so much diversity amongst the young performers. This production is a testament to the teachers and those nurturing these talented youngsters. Each child was equally brilliant and was truly reflective of our society.

Craig Revel Horwood is a household name. As Miss Hannigan, Craig is devilishly brilliant. 'Little Girls' was a standout solo number of the show and it was fun to watch him play around vocally and humorously across the stage.

He started his career as a performer in musical theatre in Australia, then after moving to London appeared in many West End musicals including Miss Saigon and Crazy for You. After many years, he returned to the West End musicals including Miss Hannigan in Annie, which he successfully toured around the UK twice. He has also starred in many pantomimes and done lots of work as a director/choreographer.

Zoe Akinyosade who is just nine-year-old plays the part of Annie. Her performance vocally was stunningly impressive. She made her acting debut as Efua in David Leon’s short film Leave to Remain and performed as Little Cosette in the UK tour of Les Miserables. Zoe has also performed in musicals such as Oliver!, Matilda, Moana, Sister Act and High School Musical.

Nikolai Foster, the Director is the Artistic Director at Curve, has created work for many of the UK’s major producing theatres, touring houses and internationally. He has also been Director on attachment at the Sheffield Crucible, the Royal Court Theatre and National Theatre Studio and served as Associate Director at Leeds Playhouse.

Nikolai Foster creates a balance between the magic and the brutal reality of Ney York in the 30’s very well.

A stand-out performance from Amber who played Sandy the dog on behalf of Animals Galore Ltd. Amber is an 8-year-old Labradoodle. She was an understudy for Spot in Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre. She has played Sandy for both of the UK tours of Annie and in the West End. She seemed delighted to be on stage and happy to receive all the fuss from actors.

Recently the Curve was described as ‘world class’ by The Daily Telegraph and Annie was definitely nothing short of world-class. It has built a reputation for creating high-quality theatre which inspires, challenges, entertains and is representative of 21st-century Britain. The Curve is here for everyone who lives, works and learns in this unique city and beyond.

Times are hard for many at the moment and we live in a world of extremes, themes which are mirrored in this musical. I would highly recommend you visit Curve to see Annie for an evening of optimism and heartfelt emotion.


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