Canal Street Online Manchester

Annie the musical

Annie the musical

It was a work colleague who suggested going to see Annie. To the surprise of her and those around me I was forced to admit that I had never seen Annie.

I did not even realise that the song ‘I’ll luv ya, tomorrow’ was from this particular production! To prepare myself for seeing Annie on stage I took myself to the Wikipedia page to get myself briefly acquainted with the plot. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to like Annie based on what I had read.

All of that aside I sit down to watch the play and we are transported to 1930’s Manhattan with Miss Hannigan’s orphanage being the opening setting. Anita Dobson plays the so-called guardian of the children under her care when she is little more than a ruthless taskmaster with a barely contained drinking problem. Dobson plays the role with gusto and you’re just rooting for Annie (played by the lovely, Taziva-Faye Katsande) but all of the kids to get out of their dire circumstance.

Annie is the fortunate choice to be the guest of billionaire, Oliver Warbucks (player superbly by Alex Bourne) over the Christmas holidays when his assistant Grace (played by Carolyn Maitland) shows up the orphanage to whisk a child away from the depressing conditions to a life of luxury.

What follows is Warbucks (or Daddy Warbucks as he comes to be known) falling in love with Annie and deciding he wants to adopt her whilst she really desires to know the true identity of her parents. Miss Hannigan and her underhand brother, Rooster (player convincingly by Richard Meek) attempt to scam the Warbucks out of reward money for information regarding Annie’s long-lost parents.

The play is beautifully choreographed and transition from the various sets, whether it be the orphanage or Warbucks' manor or the White House is seamless and a real credit to this fantastic production.

If I was to have one gripe about the story of Annie it is the undercurrents that being rich is good and being poor is bad. America is knee deep in the recession and it is still the rich people playing heroes dragging the poor out of poverty. It is a small gripe and by no means a reflection on the wonderful talent on display.

Dan Carter for Canal St Online.

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Published: 8-Feb-2019

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