“Don't wait until 'tomorrow' to see this fantastic show"

I’ve seen Annie in various incarnations, both film and stage, and confess it is one of my guilty pleasures!

The current UK tour is a delightful mix of the familiar with some lovely new touches, particularly in the choreography and styling, and is well worth a visit.  I particularly liked the last scenes, with their joyously Christmassy colour scheme, which on an August evening felt pretty welcoming, especially with the current cool wet weather!  I loved using the orphans and golden parcels, as Christmas bells, which was very clever.

Some of the songs, especially “Tomorrow” and others, seem to be set at slightly faster tempos, which I also liked.

I liked the simple set, and especially liked the scene setting before the start with the wireless playing radio plays etc whilst the orphans got read for bed etc. 

The iconic part of Miss Hannigan, has been shared on this tour by Strictly Judge Craig Revel-Horwood, Jodie Prenger, Elaine C Smith, and before his untimely death, Paul O’Grady. Craig Revel Horwood has taken over Paul’s dates, so is doing the lion’s share. 

Set in 1930s New York during the Great Depression, the story tells of young Annie who with the other orphans, is forced to live a life of misery and hard work at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage.  Annie is picked by famous billionaire Oliver Warbucks to spend Christmas with him and his faithful secretary Grace Farrell. He eventually decides to adopt Annie, but not before he and Annie conduct a search for the parents who left her as a baby, and not before Miss Hannigan and her brother Rooster and his girlfriend Lily try to sabotage Annie’s future. 

Annie the Musical depends on its young cast.  This production is thankfully very well served by Annie and her fellow orphans. The youngsters are really good, and all work so hard. This tour has 3 sets of youngsters and if the other two sets are as good as these were, the show is in very safe hands. It is a delight to see the youngsters working so hard to create believable characters on stage. The talented girls were captivating and their singing and dancing was faultless. 

Our Annie last night was played by a world-class Harlie Barthram.  She was pitch-perfect and oozed charisma. Definitely one to watch out for in the future.

As to the adults, Alex Bourne as Daddy Warbucks is a standout. Daddy Warbucks can sometimes come across as a caricature, but the way that Alex played him, made him more rounded and sympathetic. He was well matched by Amelia Adams, who was delightful as Grace. 

Revel-Horwood was fantastic in the part of the gin-swigging, little-girl-hating Miss Hannigan. The Strictly bad-guy clearly loved every moment! 

I also thoroughly enjoyed Paul French in the role of Miss Hannigan's devious brother Rooster and Billy-Kay as his manipulative partner in crime Lily.  They, alongside Revel Horwood, threw themselves into the comedy numbers such as “Easy Street”, and the singing, characterisation and dancing were extremely well done.

The other undoubted star of the show was a very cute and very well behaved Amber, playing the part of Sandy the dog. Never work with children and animals they say, and there is certainly a danger of the adults being upstaged by the dog and the orphans in this show!

This was a really enjoyable night out, and well worth revisiting this classic show.

Annie was reviewed at the Milton Keynes Theatre on the 7th August where it runs until the 12th August 2023.  Tickets available here: Annie Tickets | Milton Keynes Theatre in Milton Keynes | ATG Tickets

Full tour details here: Annie Musical UK Tour | Official site (

Review written by Ruth Hawkins


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