Theatre Review: Annie, Empire Theatre, Liverpool

Image Source: ATG

Show: Annie
Format: Musical
Genre: Comedy
Writer/Director: Nikolai Foster
Cast: Craig Revel Horwood, Taziva-Faye Katsande, Alex Bourne, Richard Meek & Jenny Gayner
Review Date: June 24 2019
Performances: June 24 2019-June 29 2019, 7.30pm incl. 2.30pm matinees
Location: Empire Theatre, Liverpool
Age Rating: 3+

The long-awaited Annie has come back to Liverpool’s Empire Theatre. It was as far back as last year that I excitedly purchased my tickets for this coming Saturday’s matinee so that I could watch the show with my young family who love the film. I am hoping it will be amazingly entertaining for both adults and young children alike.


Synopsis Of Annie

Annie is a theatre of drama, humour and music. It is 1933 in New York during the great depression. Annie has to live a life of misery at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. The first stage play was in 2011. And the musical was derived from the 1982 film of the same name.

The show begins early one morning in the orphanage, some of the girls are waking and are all still tired and begin bickering. Molly has woken from a bad dream and it is Annie (played here by Taziva-Faye Katsande) who comforts her. We are introduced to the musical side of the show with the first song ‘Maybe’ which is performed rather nicely. It is in this scene we are informed that Annie has, in her possession, part of a locket from her true family. Her true family will produce the other half when they come back to reclaim her.


So, the story begins to unfold as Miss Hannigan has other ideas and will do her utmost to stop this happening. The ghastly, ‘beautiful’, and often intoxicated Miss Hannigan was played by Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood, and he should be greatly credited for a wonderful portrayal of one of the baddies of the show. His singing voice was of a really high standard which was a great surprise to me. Craig looked rather fetching in women’s clothing too!

Annie decides to try to run away from the orphanage to begin the search for her true family. However, Miss Hannigan discovers her trying to escape. So, she punishes all the orphans. And they have to suffer for Annie’s actions. Annie does manage to escape, in a laundry bag, and whilst on the streets of New York, she rescues a stray dog from the dogcatchers. When the police pick up Annie, the dog follows her. And the dog, Sandy, now belongs to Annie. The actual real dog does not feature for the whole of the performance but instead makes several brief appearances, much to the delight of the audience.


Both are returned to the orphanage just in time for Annie to be selected as an 11-year-old orphan to live in a mansion for Christmas at the request of a very wealthy billionaire Oliver Warbucks (Alex Bourne). Warbucks takes a real shine to Annie and decides that he would like to adopt her, surprising her with a Tiffany locket and informing the young orphan of his intentions. But Annie is unhappy. And she cries while telling the story of her own half locket. That’s when the search for her true parents begins.

Analysis Of Annie

This story has a focus on morals, although there is humour and cuteness incorporated throughout, especially from the excellent performances of the 6 young girl actresses. The show engages the audience, of all ages, throughout. The acting was mesmerising. The songs include ‘Tomorrow’, ‘New Deal’, Easy Street and ‘Hard Knock Life’. And feet were tapping throughout the theatre. The dancing and performances of all the cast are beautiful. Plus, the stage sets and props were successful in producing the desired visual effects. Furthermore, the atmospheric music was provided by a perfectly conducted live orchestra which brought the whole experience to life.

Summary Of Annie

I would suggest that this show is for a younger audience. Mind you, the adults in the auditorium enjoyed the show. But the youngsters had the bigger smiles. The cast thoroughly deserved the standing ovation at the end. Annie was a highly enjoyable show. And I look forward to returning with my family to see it for a second time at the weekend.


Target Audience: Families
Content: Mild Language
Recommendation?: Yes

Overall Rating: 8/10 – Very Good

Further Link

Annie runs at the Empire Theatre until Saturday June 29. To buy tickets, click here or call 0844 871 3017.

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