REVIEW: Comical and lovable Annie opens at the Bristol Hippodrome

The cast of Annie which is playing at the Bristol Hippodrome.

The cast of Annie which is playing at the Bristol Hippodrome. - Credit: Archant

Proving there is an inner child in everyone screaming to break out, Annie opened at the Bristol Hippodrome last night (Tuesday) to rambunctious applause.

The cast of Annie.

The cast of Annie. - Credit: Archant

The tale of red-headed orphan Annie has been reproduced on stage and screen multiple times and I have to say this one really was the icing on top of the cake.

Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave Annie is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage.

Determined to find her real parents, her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks.

Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search.

Anita Dobson as the evil Miss Hannigan.

Anita Dobson as the evil Miss Hannigan. - Credit: Archant


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With its award-winning book and score, the production includes the unforgettable songs It’s The Hard Knock Life, Easy Street, I Don’t Need Anything But You and Tomorrow.

Anita Dobson, known for playing Angie Watts in TV soap EastEnders, really nailed her character of Mrs Hannigan.

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The tipsy, spiteful and vengeful character is a pleasure to see on stage; despite being the ‘baddy’ and Dobson did a great job amusing the audience with her acting.

Her rendition of Little Girls was brilliantly funny, with a cracking New Yorker accent and a true Hannigan-esque style to it.

One of the musical numbers in Annie.

One of the musical numbers in Annie. - Credit: Archant

Now on to the titular character herself, played by Freya Yates in this production.

Let me tell you this – this kid is really going places.

There are not many youngsters I know who would stand up in front of an audience of hundreds and perfectly perform a solo not once, not twice but three times.

The youngster’s various renditions of Tomorrow made my day. As one of my all-time favourite songs from a musical, she nailed this popular show tune with poise and elegance beyond her years.

Annie is at the Bristol Hippodrome now.

Annie is at the Bristol Hippodrome now. - Credit: Archant

Her acting skills were also second to none, with Yates really embodying the cheeky, witty and joyous character of Annie.

Her relationship with Sandy (played by talented pooch Amber) and with both Daddy Warbucks (Alex Bourne) and Grace Farrell (Carolyn Maitland) were realistic and personable.

Maitland and Bourne both held their own on the stage, captivating the audience with their songs.

Bourne and Yates had a real father-daughter relationship which I really empathised with and this was only showcased more in Something Was Missing.

The cast of Annie.

The cast of Annie. - Credit: Archant

While Maitland had the audience not knowing where to look in I Think I’m Going To Like It Here.

I cannot end this review without saying a few words about the talented group of orphan girls.

They were cheeky, kooky and each had their own personality which you couldn’t help but fall in love with.

They were also incredibly talented in their own right with great vocals and even better dancing.

Annie is at the Bristol Hippodrome now.

Annie is at the Bristol Hippodrome now. - Credit: Archant

My favourite song of the show without a doubt was Hard Knock Life, there was so much going on I didn’t know where to look.

From the fantastic and precise choreography down to the realistic 1930s costumes and interchangeable set, this really was a night to remember.

Annie will be at the Bristol Hippodrome, in St Augustine’s Parade, from tonight (Wednesday) to Saturday at 7.30pm each evening.

There are also some matinee performances at 2.30pm on some days.

Tickets, priced from £19.50, are available at the Hippodrome’s website.

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