Characters from Annie the musical crouched down on stage against a blue background with the word Annie in text on the front of the image

Annie: Review – The Alexandra Birmingham

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Be prepared to step back in time to 1930s New York. It’s the Great Depression and Annie finds herself stuck in Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. But it’s not all doom and gloom as her luck changes and she is chosen to spend Christmas with billionaire Oliver Warbucks. Miss Hannigan sets out to ruin Annie’s determined search for her parents and we are off on an all-singing, all dancing musical adventure. Look out for the classic songs including “Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow”. If you haven’t already booked tickets to see Annie at The Alexandra Birmingham, you are missing out. This fantastic family show will be on until Saturday 15th April. Ideal for an Easter treat.

Adult cast members from Annie at the Alexandra Birmingham dancing together on stage with Annie and two other cast members sitting on seats behind them

About Annie

Since opening in Broadway in 1977, Annie has become iconic on both stage and screen. After a hugely successful run in the West End, the production is now touring in theatres around the UK.

The Story

The audience is introduced to Annie and her peers in the Orphanage in the charge of evil Miss Hannigan. Annie’s kindness and optimism are obvious despite her circumstances. It is clear early on that Annie is convinced her parents will come back for her, having left her at the orphanage as a baby with a note and a locket. Seeing an opportunity to escape, Annie gets away from Miss Hannigan and heads for the streets. Whilst there, she introduces us to Sandy the dog. But it’s not long before the police catch up with her and she’s back in Miss Hannigan’s office in the orphanage.

Fortunately for Annie, her escape plan puts her in the right place at the right time when a billionaire is looking to invite an orphan to stay with him during the holidays. Annie soon finds herself in the home of “Daddy Warbucks” where she is treated like royalty. They get on so well that Warbucks wants to adopt Annie, but she has other ideas.

They set out to find Annie’s family and before we know it, Miss Hannigan is back with her scheming brother Rooster. Rooster and his partner claim to be Annie’s parents and they even seem to have proof. Fortunately, with the help of President Franklin D Roosevelt, there is a happy ending.

The Cast

My children were beside themselves with delight to discover that Craig Revel Horwood was starring as Miss Hannigan in the 2023 tour of Annie. Alongside him were Alex Bourne as Oliver Warbucks, Paul French as Rooster, Amelia Adams as Grace Farrell, and Billie-Kay as Lily St. Regis.

The title role of Annie is shared by Zoe Akinyosade, Harlie Barthram and Poppy Cunningham. They are joined by three teams of young performers who play the residents of Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Completing the cast are Emily Barnett-Salter, Alistair Beattie, David Burrows, Sergi Ibanez, Rosalind James, Belle Kizzy Green, Ellie May-Wilson, Martin McCarthy, Phoebe Roberts, Lukin Simmonds, Matthew Sweet, Dawn Williams, and Tommy Wade-Smith.

The cast of Annie dancing on stage at the Alexandra Theatre Birmingham

Annie: Review – The Alexandra Birmingham

From the moment the children in the orphanage come on stage and settle into their beds for the night, the audience is in for a treat. Action packed from the get-go, all the performers are exceptionally talented. Whilst Craig Revel Horwood is nothing short of fabulous as Miss Hannigan, one particular star stole the show every time they were on stage. Sandy the dog, played by golden retriever Lily was a complete pro.

Most of us know at least some of the songs from Annie, so the audience were all tapping their feet and enjoying the music. Opening night at the Alexandra Theatre Birmingham saw Zoe Akinyosade playing Annie. Along with all the orphans, Annie’s singing and dancing was incredible. The talented young performers all held their own with the adults and put on a spirited show.

There was a slightly odd moment towards the end of the first half of the show where something seemed to go wrong. The curtain came down and an announcement was made that the interval would take place slightly early. Strangely, the second half started in the usual place, leaving us unsure as to how the first half was supposed to end. Despite this, we all had a fantastic evening and thoroughly enjoyed the show.

Following the sad death of Paul O’Grady last week, the performers dedicated the show to his memory. This was a lovely touch as he had been sharing the role of Miss Hannigan with Craig Revel Horwood.

Craig Revel Horwood as Miss Hannigan in Annie sitting on a desk in the orphanage

Annie at The Alexandra Birmingham: FAQs

Where is Annie Touring 2023

Annie is at the Alexandra Theatre Birmingham until Saturday 15th April 2023. It then moves on to Oxford New Theatre from Monday 17th to Saturday 22nd April before continuing around the country until November 2023. Full details of each venue are on the Annie website.

Who plays Annie on the 2023 UK tour?

As it’s a child’s role, Annie is shared by three people, Zoe Akinyosade, Harlie Barthram and Poppy Cunningham.

Is Annie suitable for children to watch?

Absolutely. My girls are aged 8 and 10 and they LOVED it. There were lots of children both in the audience and in the show and I see no reason not to take them. It is certainly an inspiring show for children to watch if they are interested in performing on stage themselves. On the Annie website, they recommend it for children aged 5 and up.

How long does the show of Annie last?

Around two and a half hours including a twenty minute interval.

Where can I buy tickets to see Annie on tour?

To see Annie at the Alexandra Theatre Birmingham, head to their website. Details of how to book tickets for the rest of the tour are on the Annie website.

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