The sun came out as Annie opens at the Millennium Forum

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Drama teacher Sandra Biddle will have a waiting list a mile long, if the number of young girls who flocked to see Annie at the Millennium Forum on Tuesday night is anything to go by.

On the opening night of their week long run at the Millennium Forum, this sensational cast kept the audience captivated for the full 120 minutes they were on stage.

But it was the incredible Madeline Hayes as Annie who stole the show. On stage for around 90% of the musical, this young actress didn’t put a foot wrong.

Every note was perfect, every dance step immaculate and her comic timing was razor sharp.

If I was eleven years-old and I’d just seen Madeleine on stage, I’d want to start drama lessons and be like her.

And her moment in the spotlight was only stolen briefly by the appearance of Sandy the dog. I gave a little chuckle to myself when I heard the girl in front of me ask her mum if it was a “real dog.”

It certainly was.

Supported by a phenomenal cast of orphans, the dancing is what sets this production apart from any other.

The six other orphans set the stage alive with their relentless energy and fantastic singing.

This is the fourth time I’ve seen Annie on stage, and I grew up watching the film as a child, so when it comes to the hard knock life, I consider myself an expert.

This was by far the best production I’ve seen.

Each scene transition was seamless, the scenery breathtaking, with a live orchestra giving the musical that extra edge.

But it was Lesley Joseph who was the big surprise of the show.

A far cry from the cat suits of Dorien Green, Lesley, with her ginger wig and rolled down stockings made the character of evil Miss Hannigan her own.

This time it was less about the gin swigging orphanage administrator, and more about an evil tyrant who can’t bear to see one of her orphans rise to a better position in life than herself.

She had the audience eating of out her hands.

Each musical number was perfectly presented with scenes such a NYC giving the audience a happy vibe. But the famous ‘Tomorrow’ was the gem of the show - thanks to the appearance of President Roosevelt.

How Madeline Hayes hit those high notes, I’m not sure, but she did it.

Lesley is joined by Alex Bourne as ‘Oliver Warbucks’, Holly Dale Spencer as ‘Grace Farrell’, Jonny Fines as ‘Rooster’ and Djalenga Scott as ‘Lily’. The company also includes James Alan- Evans. Lewis Bradley, Nic Gibney, Sinead Kenny, Michael Lin, Alice Liveing, Megan Louch, Callum McArdle, Benjamin Mundy, Steven Oliver, Heather Scott-Martin, Anne Smith, and Kate Somerset How.

With its award-winning book and score, this stunning new production includes the unforgettable songs Hard Knock Life, Easy Street, I Don’t Need Anything But You and Tomorrow. Don’t miss Annie – you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll love it!

Annie The Musical plays the Millennium Forum until Saturday 27th February. Tickets are now available from the Box Office and are priced from £19.50. Telephone 71 264455 or visit www.millenniumforum.co.uk for bookings.