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Reviews round-up for Annie starring Miranda Hart.

The much anticipated West End revival of Annie starring comedian and oh-so likeable actress Miranda Hart has now opened at the Piccadilly Theatre.

In her first leading West End role, Hart plays Miss Hannigan – the cruel, alcoholic and tyrannical supervisor of the orphanage. With top billing, Hart is unashamedly the draw card and according to the Telegraph ‘she’s no Imelda Staunton in waiting, but singing and hoofing (after a fun fashion) she’s a triumph.’

Henry Hitchings of the Evening Standard said ‘She brings a fruity vigour and eccentricity to the part, and her rapport with the audience is warm. But vocally she has real limitations.’

Michael Billington of the Guardian thought Colin Richmond’s jigsaw-puzzle design was ‘ingenious’ with Dominic Maxwell, The Times, calling the production ‘Slickly staged, buoyantly performed’ and ‘motored by cracking musical set pieces’.

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Read our round-up of reviews below.

ANNIE – The Musical runs until 6 January 2018 at the Piccadilly Theatre.

REVIEWS ROUND-UP

STAR RATING The Daily Telegraph

“Miranda Hart’s West End debut is just what London needs right now”

“Half gorgon, half goofball, all round pleasure, [Hart] daftly-deftly combines menace with physical comedy, lurching into view through scary-tall dormitory doors, sending her grubby young charges screaming as if from a fire-breathing dragon. There’s no well-hello-there, to-camera cosiness.”

“Choreographer Nick Winston ensures the two-hour shebang is as nimble-footed as its long-installed (arguably superior) West End rival Matilda – even the Labradoodle playing Annie’s sidekick stray Sandy doesn’t put a paw wrong.”

Dominic Cavendish, Telegraph

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STAR RATING Time Out

“it’s been aeons since London last saw 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 feelgood with an agreeable seasoning of irony. ”

[Hart] 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.”

Andrzej Lukowski, TimeOut

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STAR RATING The Guardian

“An ingenious jigsaw-like design and strong performances lift this revival, but the main draw, Miranda Hart, is just too likable and the politics seem dated.”

“But Hart is this revival’s selling point and I feel decidedly ambivalent about her performance. She is suitably authoritarian as the whistle-blowing, gin-swilling Miss Hannigan; she sadistically pummels an orphan’s teddy bear and highlights the character’s sexual repression whenever a man is rash enough to enter her domain. She can also carry a song, as she shows in her musical diatribe against Little Girls. But, while I admired Hart’s professionalism, I never quite felt, as I did with Sheila Hancock’s exuberant performance in the original West End production, that this Miss Hannigan possessed the instinctive villainy. Hart, I suspect, has too much heart.”

Michael Billington, The Guardian

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STAR RATING Evening Standard

“Miranda Hart is the big draw in this bright revival of the much-loved and family-friendly Seventies musical. She brings a fruity vigour and eccentricity to the part, and her rapport with the audience is warm. But vocally she has real limitations, and it’s not easy to accept this essentially goofy performer as someone who’d contemplate getting mixed up in abduction and murder.”

Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

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STAR RATING The Stage

“[Hart] doesn’t so much belt her songs as bellow them, [she] brings an eccentric air of baffled but winning charm to the role of Miss Hannigan.”

“the great joy of Nikolai Foster’s production … is how lovingly it conjures the period, and how lightly and brightly it plays the show without sending it up, yet also not drowning it in earnestness.”

Mark Shenton, The Stage

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