Oh my goodness, oh my goodness! Liverpool Empire has got the timeless Broadway musical Annie, and it’s even more spectacular than leapin’ lizards!
Full of energetic numbers, and an endless stream of uplifting choreography, this piece can’t help but bring a smile to your face. And yet, underneath it all, there still maintains a heart-wrenching storyline of the Victorian Depression; an era in desperate need of a sprightly red-headed orphan to fill it with optimism.
Something that Victoria Sian Lewis portrays just beautifully in her mature characterisation of every little girl’s dream role. Even dressed in rags, she has that special sparkle and rawness that forces you to watch her, even when the stage is full.
Equally impressive is Su Pollard as the evil alcoholic and orphanage owner, Miss Hannigan. She camps the part up superbly, tickling with her flawless comic timing and ticking all the criteria for being the villain that everybody loves to hate.
When she is joined by her sidekicks, Rooster (Philip Andrews) and Lily St Regis (Sophie McEwan) the production is taken up another notch, the scheming trio providing a hilarious and powerful rendition of the musical number, ‘Easy Street’.
Further praise must go to David McAlister, as the loveable billionaire, Daddy Warbucks, Simone Craddock as his beautiful assistant, and, of course, Danny the dog, as the perfectly trained stray, Sandy.
The only criticism of the show is the length of the first half, which could easily cut numbers – most notably ‘NYC’ and ‘Why should I change a thing’ – to satisfy the need of twitchy youngsters.
However, all in all, this is ‘feel-good’ at its very best. With a passionate ensemble, impressive set and a stunning live band, why wait until tomorrow?! Get your tickets now!
- Rebecca Cohen