Anyone who says that children can’t act obviously haven’t seen the new Annie, currently touring the country and in situ at Oxford’s New Theatre all week.
The rotating cast of youngsters are absolutely exceptional, and every bit as enthusiastic and professional as their elder peers.
Annie opens in a dingy, rundown orphanage where its young residents are going about their daily business squabbling, fighting and keeping an eye on each other while singing like angels.
This new adaption of Annie is still as exciting, enchanting and nerve-wracking as ever thanks to the tight script, fast paced action and brilliant casting
Annie dreams of being reunited with her parents and plans to run away. Caught by Miss Hannigan (played by Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood), her entire dorm is forced to get up and clean as a punishment at 4am, presenting a wonderful opportunity for perhaps the biggest dance number of the whole show.
The choreography is spectacular, and, regardless of age, the cast performs a dizzying array of different dance genres, from tap and ballroom to acrobatics and modern, as the story unfolds.
We all know what happens – the rags to riches tale of redemption worthy of a Dickensian novel – and yet this new adaption of Annie is still as exciting, enchanting and nerve-wracking as ever thanks to the tight script, fast paced action and brilliant casting.
As for Craig, his slutty, drunken, selfish Miss Hannigan is given a new lease of life
Annie, played by Harlie Barthram is a whirlwind, Molly her young orphan protege played by Chloe Angiama is enchanting and Chana Owusu-Ansah as Pepper, the irate rebel of the group is another star in the making.
As for Craig, his slutty, drunken, selfish Miss Hannigan is given a new lease of life, the double entendres coming thick and fast, a great performance and a big draw. He’s worth the ticket price alone!
Accompanied by all our favourite songs from It’s the Hard Knock Life to Easy Street, I Don’t Need Anything But You and Tomorrow it was a joyful ride of a musical.
Throw in Sandy the dog rescued by Annie, and we were solid gone, and as Annie’s fortunes improve thanks to the appearance of Daddy Warbuck we were happily carried away on a wonderfully frothy cloud of pink materialism.
This doesn’t feel like a dumbed down touring version of the original, but an Annie worthy of the West End, set and costumes included.
Uplifting on every level, with Craig thrown in for free, the standing ovation was entirely deserved. So add some schmaltzy sparkle to your lives and book a ticket.
Bea Payne and Halli Harrison
Annie is at Oxford’s New Theatre until Saturday April 22. Book at https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/annie/new-theatre-oxford/