Whether it’s from the original 1982 film/musical, or the more recent, modernised 2014 version, most people know the story of little orphan Annie.
This heart-warming musical has been brought to life on stage in Nottingham and I was lucky enough to get a ticket!

Annie (played amazingly in tonight’s show by Elise Blake) is an orphan growing up in 1930’s New York, who despite her circumstances is sprightly and positive, holding on to the dream that her parents will come for her one day. The orphanage is run by the undesirable Miss Hannigan (Lesley Joseph) who sees her orphan charges as a burden, treating them all appallingly as her personal slaves – clearly only in the caring game for her own gain. Constantly on the demon drink, Miss Hannigan is cruel to the girls in her care.
A rich gentleman – Daddy Warbucks (Alex Bourne) – has an idea at Christmastime that he wants to give an orphan a home over the Christmas holidays, so between his faithful assistant Grace (Holly Dale Spencer) and Annie, it’s Annie who is lucky enough to be chosen to live with the millionaire – no, billionaire – in his mansion for the holidays.

Daddy Warbucks, along with his staff, quickly fall in love with Annie whilst she is staying with them and want to offer her a forever home – a plan that is almost scuppered by the mean Miss Hannigan, her shady brother Rooster (Jonny Fines) and his gold-digger girlfriend Lily (Djalenga Scott) – however, good prevails in the end and Annie gets the family she has always dreamed of.

This stage adaptation of the classic musical is captivating to watch from start to finish and Lesley Joseph does a brilliant job in character as the highly un-likeable Miss Hannigan – the New York lilt dropped once or twice, but not so much that it was too noticeable.

The stage design was believable with a clever metaphorical jigsaw puzzle backdrop – denoting the pieces of Annie’s life that need to fit together.

By far the highest accolade goes to every member of the younger cast, for this night it was Team Rockefeller playing the young orphan girls. As well as Elise Blake there was a highly talented ensemble of six young ladies with amazing voices, energetic dance moves and flawless acting. These girls more than held their own with the adult cast.

I can’t leave this piece without mentioning adorable Labradoodle Amber who played loyal stray dog Sandy who befriends

Annie – such a scene stealer!

With such favourite tunes as ‘Hard Knock Life’ and ‘Little Girls’, to name a couple, you can’t fail to sing a long and

feel uplifted. Annie will leave you feeling fully dressed with a smile.

Set 8/10

Performance 9/10

Story 8/10