Annie at The Opera House Manchester
Annie The Musical
Manchester Opera House
16th September 2015
Many moons ago an excited me saw one of his first big stage productions, Annie at the Alhambra in Bradford. It was hot on the heels of the original film, yes I’m that old and played to a packed house. It was an altogether glitterier affair at Manchester’s Opera House for the 2015 version. Stalwarts from Coronation Street and Hollyoaks were in attendance as Craig Revel Horwood led a strong cast in a faithful and fabulous rendition of the story of the orphan who makes it big.
Thankfully the script never strays far from the film, that’s the 1982 version not the recent reboot, with all the songs that you are waiting for, including Hard Knock Life, Little Girls and of course Tomorrow.
Madeline Haynes absolutely steals the show as Annie, not allowing her portrayal of the orphan be too saccharine sweet. Her supporting orphans, Team Roxy, are all great especially Connie Burgess who is a delight to watch.
Holly Dale Spencer as long suffering assistant Grace who finally gets her man owns the stage , summoning up the old school glamour of the 1920s musicals and Alex Bourne is a more than capable Daddy Warbucks, the billionaire who finds his heart.
Mr Revel Horwood, however, is a mixed bag. For Miss Hannigan’s song and dance numbers he is mesmerising, it is always thrilling to see someone really talented perform in whatever genre and as a dancer he simply can’t be faulted, however as an actor he struggles, his accent tends to slip and he does come across as a little wooden at times
Strangely for TV’s ultimate Mr Nasty, I didn’t feel he made Miss Hannigan bad enough and the character kind of fell flat but this isn’t too much to the detriment of the show as he is supported ably by his castmates.
The staging is fantastic and the whole show is slick and highly professional, even down to Amber the adorable Labradoodle who plays Sandy and received a lot of appreciation from the audience.
It is definitely worth a visit if just to indulge your inner child with a bit of light hearted optimism as the dark winter nights roll in.
By Chris Park for Canal St Online