Annie: Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Reviewed 14th October 2019
Coming direct from London’s West End the smash-hit Annie is currently touring the UK much to audiences delight. Set in the 1930s young Annie is desperate to find her parents whilst living in misery at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Her luck changes when she’s chosen to spend a fairy tale Christmas with famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Spiteful Miss Hannigan however has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search for her true family. Annie features an Tony® award-winning book and score, including the much-loved songs ‘It’s The Hard-Knock Life’, ‘Easy Street’, ‘I Don’t Need Anything But You’ and ‘Tomorrow’.
This 2019 tour is top-notch; dazzling sets, brilliant lighting and a fantastic cast. You’d be mistaken for thinking that you were in the London’s West End as this touring production holds nothing back. Colin Richmond’s set is reminiscent of Matilda with cleverly displayed jigsaw pieces forming the backdrop. The large set pieces and props are highly detailed and excellent whilst the show keeps the pace moving at all times. Likewise, the lighting by Ben Cracknell adds to every scene. The colourful lighting highlights the characters emotions and the events taking place on the stage. Every detail has been thought of from the superb costumes which are completely fitting with the era to the well-made wigs and make up. Choreography by Nick Winston is energetic and performed brilliantly by both the adult and child casts. The execution is precise and enthusiastic throughout, particularly by the children. The different styles of dance are utilised well to ensure that the production is fresh and current whilst still being distinctively set in the 1930’s.
The cast are excellent and Kiana Dumbuya excels as Annie. With a brilliant stage presence she is able to confidently command attention on the large stage in every scene. Vocally she belts out favourites like ‘Tomorrow’ with ease and her energetic, charismatic performance is far older than her age. All of the young cast are brilliant throughout – really showing the attitude and sass that we have come to expect from the orphans living at Miss Hannigan’s establishment. Lesley Joseph is excellent as Miss Hannigan. Proving that she is more than just a brilliant comedian she performs ‘Little Girls’ effortlessly with perfect humour and talent. Alex Bourne’s Daddy Warbucks is fantastic and the onstage relationship with Annie is lovely to watch. Carolyn Maitland must also be mentioned for her wonderful performance of the motherly figure Grace Farrell.
Annie is already a firm favourite with many and this dazzling new revival is sure to introduce a whole new generation to the delights of musical theatre. Despite its many productions and film interpretations Nickolai Foster’s direction makes this most recent tour of Annie feel fresh and modern. A light-hearted fun musical for the whole family Annie is a UK Tour of exceptional quality and is one not to be missed during the final stages of the tour.
Annie plays at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury until the 19th October 2019. For information and tickets click here. The tour then continues until the 23rd November 2019. For venues and tickets click here.
Photo Credit: Paul Coultas, Matt Crockett for DEWYNYTERS, and Darren Bell