Annie is best known to those of my generation about a little ginger curly haired orphan, her dog Sandy, a drunken Miss Hannigan and the sugar daddy of dreams, Daddy Warbucks.
Originally based on the Broadway musical “Annie” an adaptation of the Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie, the 1982 film was a musical that inspired a generation of curly haired gingers everywhere to stand at their window and sing Tomorrow at the top of their lungs… or maybe that was just me?!
Set in 1930s NYC during The Great Depression, little Orphan Annie is lives a life of polishing floors, making beds and being cooped up in the orphanage ran by the bitter and child hating Miss Hannigan who baths in vodka and wears silky neglige’s which have seen better days. Left on the steps of the orphanage by her parents with half a silver heart locket around her neck, Annie is determind to find her real parents and to get out from under Miss Hannigans so called care. Annie’s luck changes when she is invited to spend Christmas at the home of Oliver Warbucks, a famous billionaire who’s splendour and wealth is more than Annie could ever imagine.
Annie and the Orphans are what make this production what it is… Oh, and Sandy the dog of course. Whoever said not to work with children or dogs clearly has never seen Annie. On press night Team Tiffany took to the stage as Annie and her friends at Miss Hannigans half way orphanage. They’re full of life, rambuceous and sassy to the end and Madeleine Haynes who plays the lead as Annie has the “no mess and straight talking” red head down to the ground. The portrayals of some of the key songs in the play such as Hard Knock Life and Tomorrow were executed perfectly… I felt myself wanting to burst out into a bar of Tomorrow like an 8 year old girl. There were a couple of songs which for me personally didn’t quite hit the right notes. Maybe opens the show, a touching song where Annie and the orphans lament on what their parents could be like, and I felt it wasn’t quite given the moment it deserved. Same with Little Girls. Hannigans portrayal in the film is iconic and the slurry singing and swigging on a bottle of vodka gives it a real Miss Hannigan punch but I found there was something missing in Lesley Joseph’s performance, although it was arguably full of OOMPH and the crowd loved it. Perhaps I’m just too fond of the original “vodka as bubble bath” touch of the film.
Annie is a touching story and fans of the film will truly enjoy the stage show. The scenes with Oliver Warbucks show a real chemistry between Alex Bourne and Madeleine Haynes and is heartwarming to watch and the big musical moments take you back to Saturday afternoons watching the film.
If you need any more persuading, Sandy the dog is adorable and even his minute appearances steal the show.
Annie The Musical runs at the Regent Theatre until Saturday the 6th February and tickets are available via the website or box office.