Review: Annie, Bristol Hippodrome (Guest review from Emma at HappyWiseOwl)
Updated: Apr 4, 2019
The Annie soundtrack is known across the globe by many. I’m ashamed to say that I have never seen the film Annie. This isn’t to say however that I don’t know the story outline or the numerous songs. It does mean that I had zero expectations for Annie The Musical and there was no chance of any childhood memories being quashed!
Set in 1930’s New York during the Great Depression, Annie is the story of a feisty young flame red haired orphan who lives in misery at the orphanage run by Miss Hannigan. A determined young lady who wants to seek out her real parents, her luck does a complete 360 when she is chosen to spend Christmas with the famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie's search...
Anita Dobson steps into the role of fearsome Miss Hannigan. I’ve only ever known Anita Dobson to play the feisty landlady Angie in EastEnders and was completely unware of her theatre background. Anita brings camaraderie and a feisty personality to her role. Despite Miss Hannigan being very much the villain of the story, Anita bought out some subtle pantomime-style baddie traits. (Don't worry, there are no ‘she’s behind you’ moments!)
For me the real stars of the show were the children. It’s fair to say that Annie showcases many talented youngsters. Not only are they put through fast paced choreography but they needed to nail the New Yorker accent every time. Straight from the first scene and first set piece of Hard Knock Life, they gave a high energy performance and their enthusiasm was clear to see.
Freya Yates who was cast as Annie deserves a special mention. It wasn’t until she sang solo for Tomorrow that her charisma and talent shone through. Her voice and presence filled the theatre. You could really see the connection she had with Daddy Warbucks (played by Alex Bourne) and this shone through during Something Was Missing and I Don’t Need Anything But You. She was the only person that got a standing ovation at the end of the show and then engaged with the audience to get us all involved in singing and clapping.
Not only were the actors brilliant, the wardrobe and costume departments shouldn’t be overlooked as they often are. The intricate details of the 1930’s were captured in the costumes. The stage set was effective and with few prop changes it was cleverly utilised to fit all the numerous scene changes.
Of course, I couldn’t finish writing this without a little mention of Amber the Labradoodle who played Sandy. Within minutes of her first appearance and trick, the crowd were cheering and clapping! They say never work with children or animals but I’m sure the cast of Annie would have to disagree!!
Annie is playing at the Bristol Hippodrome until 23rd March. Buy tickets here.
Disclaimer: Complimentary tickets to Annie were provided by Bristol Hippodrome in return for an honest review. Photos were provided by the theatre.
This blog was written by Emma who writes the HappyWiseOwl blog. HappyWiseOwl is a lifestyle blog covering everything from travel and hotels, café or restaurant reviews and any random thoughts that are going through her mind! Emma is a huge supporter of fellow local independent businesses and will often be found with tea and cake at one of her favourite cafes.