I’ve always loved musicals, and I’m more than delighted that H has inherited my love of people randomly bursting into song for no apparent reason too. While The Sound of Music might not be her favourite (yet), there’s several musicals we love, and recently we bought tickets for Annie the Musical when it arrived at the New Wimbledon Theatre on its UK tour.
Annie the Musical was born in 1977 and was one which fell onto my radar properly with the 1982 film. I was hooked, the songs were catchy and I seem to remember us renting a video copy of the film many times – I knew all the songs off by heart (and I didn’t own the soundtrack until recently).
So what’s to say about Annie? You probably know the story, so I won’t go into it in detail, other than to say this production follows the original stageplay. Songs like ‘We’d Like to Thank You Herbert Hoover’ make a welcome reappearance, a sarcastic song to the former US President from the residents of Hooverville (a shantytown built during the Great Depression where homeless people live – the US had hundreds of these Hoovervilles in the 1930s) “you made us what we are today….“.
‘NYC’ is the centrepiece of the musical, lots of bright colourful trips as Annie, Grace and Daddy Warbucks decide to walk to the movies through NYC, and done so well.
For our performance the role of Miss Hannigan was played by Lesley Joseph and she was great – although I did wonder where her NY accent was – it was definitely more her own voice (which is fine, I’m not complaining) – she was excellent! It made no difference to H, mind.
The children playing the orphans were brilliant – the character of Annie is in pretty much every scene, that’s a lot of work such young children, and ours was fantastic. The orphans made a great team alongside her too.
The sets were simple but you knew where you were – H found it really exciting that the orphans all were “asleep” in their beds with the main curtains up, so we saw them there on stage before the play started, with an old thirties style radio playing music in the background.
As with most musicals, the songs keep coming, and what I like the most about Annie the Musical is how clearly it tells the story of New York in poverty and how President Roosevelt was set to do something about it. With the context of the rich and poor alongside Annie’s positivity “the sun’ll come out, tomorrow…” you’re given a more complete story of New York at the end of the Great Depression and how things were set to change for the better. Which of course went way over H’s head, she just likes the songs!
Annie the Musical is on tour now, and throughout 2016 – I’d highly recommend going – and they have a well-stocked merch table too with plenty of things to choose (H went for a photo book taken from the stage show, pictures of which accompany this review – it costs £7 so not too bad at all!). Tickets can be booked here.