Brett Herriot Review

Annie, Edinburgh Playhouse Review, Review:

“A Rock Solid Production!

**** 4 Stars

Starting life nearly a century ago as a 1924 comic strip, Little Orphan Annie, before debuting on Broadway in 1977, across those 46 years would follow two motion picture adaptations and numerous stage productions around the world. Annie with book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin has charmed the musical universe and now it’s back for a brand new 2023 UK tour calling at the Playhouse for a week’s run, and the cherry on the cake is the return of Paul O’Grady as Miss Hanigan.

This is a rock solid production packed full of comedy, music and that heart warming feel good factor we have come to expect from Annie. What sets this particular production apart is the return of Paul O’Grady after a 25 year break from Miss Hanigan and he is a joy, fair enough his accent is a cross between Liverpool and the Bronx but it works. His comedy timing is spot on and he hams it up wonderfully in a Lilly Savage inspired wig. The Playhouse is the only Scottish dates for Paul that fact alone makes getting a ticket for this week truly worth it. Paul is joined by an excellent ensemble cast and on press night due to the indisposition of Alex Bourne, David Burrows stepped into the role of Daddy Warbucks and delivered a performance full of genuine warmth and brought real charm to the overall production. The tightness of the ensemble and children’s cast (three sets of children share all the kids roles) is testament to Nikolai Fosters accomplished direction that keeps the production moving at a swift pace, a pace that never drops during Nick Winston’s period perfection choreography which the entire cast deliver with pizzazz and style.

Production wise it’s more of a mixed bag, Colin Richmond’s set design owes a lot to “Matilda” switching books out for jigsaw pieces but it does bring a charm to the show that’s bolstered by a stunning lighting design by Ben Cracknell. Richard Brooker’s sound design was very much put to the test on press night and didn’t deliver as it should. Mic’s failed to come on, the balance between Musical director Joshua Griffith’s stellar eight piece band and the vocals on stage was just not there, with the band being deafening loud at times and vocals too low.  Hopefully it’s just a case of the show bedding in at the Playhouse and with a hefty 8 show run there is every chance it will hit its stride.

Overall the 2023 UK tour of Annie delivers everything it should, a quality and value for money evening of musical theatre and if they can get the sound on the beam will truly shine. It easy to see why Annie remains a family favourite and this inspired resetting of the show does much to further its legacy. The magical ingredient in this run is the utterly sublime Paul O’Grady who earned his standing ovation as the curtain fell, in fact the entire cast delivered a little bit of musical magic and you would be mad to wait until Tomorrow to enjoy yourself! Get to the Playhouse for the last remaining tickets.

Annie, Edinburgh Playhouse, Runs until Saturday 25th March, for tickets go to: Annie Tickets | Edinburgh Playhouse in Edinburgh | ATG Tickets


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s