Arts Reviews

Annie @ Theatre Royal

This week, Impact was lucky enough to be invited to see the opening night performance of Annie at the Nottingham Theatre Royal. Nearly everyone has seen the film or knows the story of the redheaded orphan’s search to find her true family. Quite simply, this production is the revision respite we all need…

“We were able to sit and admire the set before the show began”

My mum always told me that first impressions are important and, although she was probably talking about people, she was so right when it came to this show! We were welcomed into the theatre by the ever-friendly theatre staff and went to find our seats, which were fantastically positioned in the centre of the stalls. Since there was no formal curtain across the stage, we were able to sit and admire the set before the show began.

The backdrop was made of giant jigsaw pieces that fitted together to make a map, presumably of New York, where the musical is set. As the musical unfolded, subtle lighting changes further illuminated the backdrop, showing its intricacies and making it even more fascinating. The beds on stage were also thought provoking, with their distinct rows clearly suggestive of Annie’s orphanage.

“The choreography particularly caught my attention”

From the second the orchestra began playing, I was quite honestly spellbound by the show. Being a former dancer, the choreography particularly caught my attention. Perhaps this was also subconsciously boosted by the knowledge that Craig Revel Horwood played Miss Hannigan (and notably did not disappoint in bringing the sass and lustfulness the role demands). Regardless of this, the show is filled with a brilliant variation of genres: from the defiant yet playful choreography of the orphans, to the sophisticated tap dance numbers of the wealthy to the elegant moment of waltzing Annie shares with Mr Warbucks. Most charming of all was the way it made the audience want to join in!

“Freya Yates was a brilliant Annie with the perfect balance of cheekiness and innocence”

Although the whole cast was quite simply a pleasure to watch for the way they exuded passion for the show, the child actors need special acknowledgement. Freya Yates was a brilliant Annie with the perfect balance of cheekiness and innocence. She navigated the show with a wonderful professionalism for an actor of her age. In addition, the orphans had seemingly undying energy. My favourite moment of theirs has to be the energetic rendition of ‘It’s A Hard Knock Life For Us’! They all juggled the ever-changing demands of their roles incredibly smoothly, transitioning between songs, choreography and acting with ease, despite this show being a stage debut for several of the girls.

“Characters’ accents were at times difficult to decipher”

My only complaint of the show is that characters’ accents were at times difficult to decipher. On a few occasions, I was left wondering whether someone was British, American or a Gatsby-esque hybrid of the two. Although the New York accent is admittedly not the easiest to learn, this somewhat broke me out of the story. Yet, since this was opening night, such nervous mishaps are to be somewhat expected!

Overall, this performance of Annie was a wonderful mid-revision treat and I would highly recommend it. As soon as the lights went down, I could have easily been transported to London’s West End. Above all of the glitz and glamour of the show, though, perhaps my favourite thing was watching the actors’ love for their craft. There is simply nothing better than seeing and being able to feed off of others’ passion and I have no doubt that this made my experience of the show a thousand times better. This production was such a whirlwind and it’s safe to say I would go back to see the show again in a heartbeat!


Georgina Pittman

Featured Image courtesy of Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall Official Facebook Page.

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