I am going to admit, I've never been a huge fan of Annie. It's always come across as annoyingly twee, but Nikolai Foster's joyous re-staging has breathed new life into this musical and I have seen it in a completely new light. Foster himself said he 'hadn't given [the show] the attention or respect it deserved', prior to staging it.
The spectacular set was reminiscent of Matilda. Clever and dynamic, it aided the smooth transition of scenes and was visually sumptuous.
Leading the cast was the feisty and downright superb Elise Blake as Annie. Holding her own amongst the experienced cast. Not only that, every young girl was perfectly cast, illuminating the stage as they all performed Hard Knock Life.
The warming stage presence exuded by Callum McArdle as Daddy Warbucks was a delight. He had a beautiful quality to his voice, which made his performance utterly captivating.
Juxtaposed to this, was the shouty drunkenness of Miss Hannigan - more than capably performed by the fantastic Lesley Joseph. Garnering many of the laughs throughout the night, she excelled in the role.
The sleazy pairing of Jonny Fines as Rooster and Djalenga Scott as Lily was equally brilliant. With Easy Street being a musical highlight.
But what made this production extra special? The sublime choreography. It was a triumph. I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here was a standout moment in the show and the entire production was supremely joyous.
Whether young or old, make sure you leave your preconceptions at the door of the Grand and come and experience this show. You won't be disappointed.
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