Annie

Theatre, Musicals
3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(14user reviews)
 (© Paul Coltas)
1/8
© Paul Coltas Miranda Hart (Miss Hannigan)
 (© Paul Coltas)
2/8
© Paul Coltas Miranda Hart (Miss Hannigan)
 (© Paul Coltas)
3/8
© Paul Coltas Miranda Hart (Miss Hannigan)
 (© Paul Coltas)
4/8
© Paul Coltas Alex Bourne (Daddy Warbucks), Ruby Stokes (Annie), Russell Wilcox (Franklin D. Roosevert)
 (© Paul Coltas)
5/8
© Paul Coltas Djalenga Scott (Lily) Jonny Fines (Rooster) and Miranda Hart (Miss Hannigan)
 (© Paul Coltas)
6/8
© Paul Coltas Nicole Subebe (Molly) and Ruby Stokes (Annie)
 (© Paul Coltas)
7/8
© Paul Coltas Ruby Stokes (Annie) and Alex Bourne (Daddy Warbucks)
 (© Paul Coltas)
8/8
© Paul Coltas

Comedian Miranda Hart gets the chuckles in this agreeable revival of the beloved American musical

American as apple pie and covfefe, Charles Strouse’s all-singing 1977 adaptation of Harold Gray’s Depression-era comic strip ‘Little Orphan Annie’ remains a staple on the touring circuit. But it’s been aeons since London last hosted a production, perhaps because it’s been so comprehensively overshadowed by Tim Minchin’s ‘Matilda’, another musical about a young female prodigy that’s smarter, funnier, darker, weirder and more tuneful.

Still, ‘Annie’ remains a sturdy slice of feel-good with an agreeable seasoning of irony. And Nikolai Foster’s production has a lanky USP in comedian Miranda Hart, making her West End debut as dissolute orphanage boss Miss Hannigan. Her eponymous sitcom was an acquired taste, but she is genuinely, properly funny here. Her accent is terrible and she can’t really sing, but she imbues Hannigan with a sort of nihilistic loucheness that lights up the stage, all exasperated rolls of the eye and ginned-up staggers. She barely amounts to a villain, but she is a lot of fun.

Elsewhere the kiddie orphans are a grungy delight, Ruby Stokes (Annie on press night; she will alternate with Madeleine Haynes and Lola Moxom) nails the orphan’s knowing peppiness, designer Colin Richmond offers up handsome sets, there is a nice dog, and the show’s nostalgia for the ’30s remains funny and charming: FDR is, ludicrously, a major character, which certainly made me yearn for decades gone by (with the show opening, as it did, on the day the hate-flinging gibbon in the White House decided to pick on our mayor).

Perhaps the biggest problem is that it doesn’t have a particularly gripping plot: sassy-but-stoic Annie is randomly plucked from her grim orphanage to spend Christmas with hard-nosed businessman Oliver Warbucks (a bearish Alex Bourne). She melts his heart, he decides to adopt her permanently (quite right too: what sort of dick gives an orphan two nice weeks then dumps her?), FDR turns up to balance out the pro-capitalist vibes slightly… and that’s basically it. The only note of peril is Hannigan’s brother Rooster (Jonny Fines, sporting a bewildering alt-right haircut) attempting to pose as Annie’s real father and steal her away from Warbucks, but his conspiracy is so negligible and easily foiled he might as well have not bothered.

The songs are likeable, though they never really thrill, perhaps due to a dearth of really strong voices on stage (though ‘Hard Knock Life’ has a peculiarly entertaining frisson since Jay Z sampled it).

So yeah: see ‘Matilda’ first. Maybe see it a couple of times. But ‘Annie’ has its own charms, and though I suspect this production may not survive Hart’s departure on September 17, there is definitely more to it than celebrity casting.

By: Andrzej Lukowski

Posted:

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:8
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|14
1 person listening
tastemaker

Had a really good night out at the Piccadilly theatre - the staff were lovely and we sampled some free drinks and nibbles in the Lounge.

The show itself was fun and heartwarming with a strong level of talent and humour to charm you. The children performers were good but some struggled with diction, while the adult cast were strong (only one member standing out as “cast in the wrong show”).

The dance numbers were fun and all left the theatre chirpily humming those famous show tunes.

tastemaker

The charm and love for this show undoubtedly came from the nostalgic feeling of a film I loved as a child! The show itself didn't really live up to the film, the voices weren't amazing and there was some questionable American accents. Meera was ok but couldn't say amazing unfortunately. It doesn't come close to Matilda or Charlie and the Chocolate factory as these blew me away. However it was enjoyable enough to watch, I just wouldn't go back to see it again. 

Tastemaker

Unfortunately I missed both Miranda Hart & Craig Revel Horwood play the part of Miss Hannigan with Meera only just holding her own against the other actors. However we paid only £15 for our Upper Stalls seats which although near the back were comfy and had a good view. The musical is heart warming, packed full of great numbers including the favourites like Tomorrow. Overall an enjoyable musical but not in league with the likes of Lion King, Les Mis, Wicked etc.

tastemaker

New Annie the musical is for limited season only until 6th January so hurry up, it’s totally worth it!

It’s a wonderful production. Yes, we all know the plot, and yes, it’s completely unrealistic that a rich businessman falling for an 11-year-old and ‘bingo’! But it didn’t matter because the production, staging, signing, playing are excellent. It is a relaxing show to go with your family, kids, grownups just to sit and say: Awww even if you don’t believe in fairy tales. It’s a bit cheesy and it is not a production like other great musicals currently in West End. The voices aren’t 100% but it adds some charm to the show. The supporting cast, particularly kids are outstanding. 

tastemaker

Annie the musical at the Piccadilly is an amazing adption of the classic film Annie. 

The girls play their roles really well and Miss Hannigan character is amusing. When I went Craig Revel Horwood was playing in it lets say his acting is not great but he still made it amusing. 

The whole story and costumes and scenery is great worth going to see if you love the story of Annie.

tastemaker

Annie the musical at the Piccadilly is a spectacular take on such a classic family story. You get that sense of pure emotion and excitement when seeing this production come to life. It does take you back to the original film and makes you wonder of how this story captivated so many people around the world.

I'm sure everyone adores Annie. It's an infamous success and an unforgettable story to everyone's childhood. Especially the memorable songs like 'Tomorrow' & 'It's The Hard-Knock Life' was a triumph.

This musical really is a huge reflection on the original film, but with added scenes that I wasn't expecting to see.

We all know the story of Annie and how she ended up in that horrendous orphanage with the other girls and the malicious Miss Hannigan.

Seeing it at the West End was really a breath of fresh air and such a fabulous, magnificent experience.

The stage is beautifully designed with all the impeccable puzzle pieces being the main focus that surrounds the stage in the auditorium.

It was fantastic seeing Annie as a musical and I must say that all the orphans sounded incredibly well together. They were a treat to listen to.

I have to say the littlest orphan of them all called Molly who was played by Ellicia Simondwood at the time I went to see it was astounding and adorable in every way. Her little presence on stage was a blast.

She showed Miss Hannigan who's boss. I laughed so much.

Annie (Madeleine Haynes) was a great success and created such a heart-warming Annie full of life and emotions.

Seeing Sandy, the young Labrador running across the stage on a couple of scenes was very sweet.

Daddy Warbucks (Alex Bourne) is a charming character on stage who demonstrated a strong love for Annie.

For me Miranda Hart as Miss Hannigan did exquisitely well. I agree she wasn't the best singer in the world, but she portrayed a character full of humour, life and a little exuberance in her way of acting.

Miranda Hart took this musical to a tremendous success, but I do wish that I could have seen a bit more of her. Especially throughout the second half of the show.

I would of loved to have seen much more of Hart's preposterous, elegant presence on stage. She is ridiculously brilliant in every way. What a pleasurable delight to see her live for the first time on a West End stage.

All in all Annie is a story of life and teaches you that life be can changed in ways that we can't possibly imagine when you fight for what you believe in.

Annie never gave up on believing which is admirable. See the beauty of Annie for yourself.

#TOTastemaker

Love MD.

tastemaker

Unfortunately this show is overshadowed by other child starring West End offerings, such as Matilda and School of Rock, where the children are incredible. That being said, the child actors were probably the best thing about this show, being equal parts punchy and cute, with great singing voices. Now I love Miranda Hart but I didn't love her in this, her singing voice was out of tune and her accent quite poor. She bumbles across the stage and there are far too many 'Miranda-isms' that do make you laugh, but just remind you of her show. I can't help but feel that a more seasoned West End actress would have done this role justice and the nastiness that it deserves. Overall a good show, I really liked the set and the choreography was great, I just wish they would stop casting people who aren't right for the roles just to get bums on seats.


If you're after a feel-good evening out featuring an amazing soundtrack then this performance of Annie is just the ticket for you. The kids are incredible, little Molly is too cute for words, and they manage to mirror the original movie cast down to a T. Miranda Hart makes Miss Hanigan's role very much her own, which makes for a fun twist, and although she absolutely cannot sing, she does have the audience in stitches at times. Not show-stoppingly brilliant by any means, but this show will without a doubt leave you smiling. 

Tastemaker

Not for me. If you want to see Miranda Hart's usual schtick with a dodgy American accent you may enjoy it, but otherwise this show feels like someone's trying to earn a quick buck with a cheap-looking set, threadbare cast and a world tour of accent choices. At the performance I saw a couple of understudies were on but seemed heavily under-rehearsed and inappropriate for their roles. Felt more like a cheap tour than a West End show, sadly.

Tastemaker

The popular Annie musical has returned back to West End. Miranda Hart as well as all the kids are brilliant into their roles but overall the direction becomes a bit stiff and slow in some points. The set design is quite basic and the production seems of limited budget. Story and songs well known but I would expect more in this Annie's revival in West End.

tastemaker

Having never been exposed to any version of Annie, I feel I am able to judge this production on its own merits. It is an uplifting story and Miranda Hart provides star quality as well as a degree of affability that most of her fans will be familiar with. However, her Miss Hannigan although flirty and gin soaked, lacks the level of menace that have been evident in other versions. 


Although the plot is quite simple and predictable, the acting of the kids and a cute dog more than compensates for this. 



Tastemaker

One of my favourite movies as a child and I literally can sing along to every song! This performance was only average, the kids were great, but Miranda Hart playing Miss Hannigan was poor. Her voice, accent, singing were all of poor standard, a real disappointment for the show. Annie was fab, as well as sandy the dog. Top Tip- the toilet queues are crazy,try and get out at the interval asap to avoid long queues!


Every iteration of Annie that I'm aware of is a slight but sweet story with some larger than life characters and this production is no different. It does fall a little flat in some areas - Annie feels older than she probably should, Miranda Hart isn't as villainous (or as American) as she could be, and things peak extremely early with 'Hard Knock Life'. That says, there's nothing offensively bad, the kids in the orphanage are all great, and the kids in the audience seemed to enjoy it very much.

tastemaker

I was really excited for this musical as I love the film (the original that is), but I was left a little disappointed.  The cast are great and the young girl who played Annie and Miranda Hart are brilliant.  However, the story seemed to drag a little and I was waiting for it to be over.  The songs are mostly good, but the flow doesn't quite work for me.