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ANNIE at Birmingham Hippodrome

October 17, 2015

I was expecting something that was a little bit saccharine for my taste. However the current UK tour of ANNIE at the Birmingham Hippodrome was anything but saccharine. Gutsy and Gritty is how I would describe this excellent production which is easily the best touring musical to arrive at the Hippodrome this year.

Although the plot is “Oliver in a dress”, there is real charm in the excellent characterisations from Thomas Meehan’s book. Martin Charnin gives these characters great lyrics and together with Charles Strouse’s thumping music, the musical numbers are woven within this classic rags to riches Broadway show with a rigorous two Act structure. This production builds on these firm foundations with a colourful set and very well designed lighting throughout.

Icing on the cake is the cast. Not your usual cute stage school kids but performances with real acting. Every singing voice was pitch perfect and powerful. I saw Sophia Pettit, one of the three “Annies” and she was quite amazing. The swing dancing support team were drilled to perfection. However, nothing could quite prepare me for the absolute sheer delight of Craig Revel Horwood’s permanently drunk Miss Hannigan. So real “she” was frighteningly attractive. I was blown away by the discipline of his movement.

Not to be missed. http://anniethemusicaltour.uk/tour/

Annie

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