Annie the Musical with Miranda Hart

miranda hart in Annie
You know when you like something, and you keep going back because what you like is good fun? That seems to be us with Annie. We caught it twice on the UK tour in Wimbledon and Croydon and thought that would be that. But then they announced Miranda Hart would be playing the part of Miss Hannigan. Now – hands up, I haven’t watched her programmes – but! I could see the part would really work. So we had to buy tickets.

Miranda Hart is a huge Annie fan too. There was a recent interview with her confirming this.

So you’re a huge fan of the musical and you get a chance to play one of the most fun roles in there – of course you’re going to do it! We went yesterday and oh my goodness. She is perfect for the role. She doesn’t try to be Carol Burnett or anyone else who has played Miss Hannigan – just herself.

I haven’t watched ‘Miranda’, I only had a vague idea of her sense of humour from clips on tv, so I’ve seen how she looks to the camera and pulls a face – and you get that on stage. How she manages in a theatre I’ll never know – it’s like she’s looking at you! It’s very very funny when she does too.

I was in my seat almost crying with laughter which I know I’ve never done while watching Annie before. The set has changed slightly too. The jigsaw floor is still there but now extends further back with a raised platform for certain scenes. I noticed some small tweaks to the show as well. It’s almost identical to the touring version otherwise.

An example of one of the changes – the orphans find out they’re not getting hot mush for their breakfast and they cheer. Miss Hannigan announces they’re getting cold mush, then jumps on one of their beds mocking them saying “yayy! Cold mush!!” several times, it shouldn’t be funny, but because Miranda Hart is doing it, it ends up being very funny. It’s all in the delivery.

The rest of the cast remain largely unchanged from the UK tour – the same Daddy Warbucks and Grace Farrell too. They’re still doing a marvellous job and you can tell they’re enjoying what they’re doing.

Then of course there are the Annie’s. Madeleine Hayes was our Annie, and I think she might have been on one of the previous times we saw the show too. The orphans were superb too – a really good confident bunch of girls who played their parts wonderfully.

Do I really need to go into the story of Annie? I would think that if you’ve seen the film then you know what to expect – just don’t expect any crazy chases up bridges. They created that for the 1982 film for reasons nobody truly understands.

You have an awesome cast and crew who know what to do and look like they’re fans of the show. It works on so many levels with jokes for adults in there too.

Plus Miranda Hart makes an absolutely excellent Miss Hannigan.

The opening night for Annie the Musical starring Miranda Hart as Miss Hannigan is the 5th June 2017. She will remain in the role of Miss Hannigan until the 17th September 2017. For more information head here.

In the upcoming weeks…

This year is going to be a much quieter one as far as treats and things go.

Last year was a pretty crazy one – we did loads of fun things and often did them if we happened to be somewhere. It was all very last minute.

This year there are still some good things happening, and as usual H doesn’t know half of them.

dick and dom live

Coming up next month we’re going to see Dick & Dom live at St Albans Arena. I’m quite looking forward to this as Dick & Dom in Da Bungalow was my hangover choice of programme back in the nineties. Shaun also appreciates their very daft sense of humour. Seeing as they’re still going strong and have found a big new fan in H, I think she’s going to love it. I just hope we don’t get too messy..  sounds like it could be. We’ve got to get the Thameslink home…!

After that Annie returns to London. We saw the touring production twice, both times with Lesley Joseph as Miss Hannigan. This time it’s going to be Miranda Hart – she’ll make a fantastic Miss Hannigan (and she also sounds pretty excited about it too). So we’re looking forward to that – we’re going in May. You can book tickets now! There’s lots of information over on the Facebook page of the production.

miranda hart in Annie

I really like SeatPlan – it’s a site where you can add reviews of your seat at the theatre, and it’s handy for working out the best places to sit. I’ve added a few reviews over the last few years but haven’t won any free tickets yet!

If we’re lucky then we may be able to squeeze a trip to see School of Rock around my birthday. I don’t celebrate my birthday any more, It’s more fun celebrating other people’s. H and Shaun seem to enjoy celebrating mine though so I have to do something to keep them happy. This should.

The theatre isn’t our only love. There’s also football. Next weekend FA Cup Giantkillers of the 2010’s Sutton United take on FA Cup Giantkillers of the mid-80’s (aka my home team), York City. So I’m taking H to her first York game* as Sutton United is a very short train journey away.

Wembley Stadium SSE giant sponge hands

We have tickets as usual for the Women’s FA Cup final on the 13th May because they always do such a good deal for Wembley, though if York continue their cup run maybe they’ll make it back there too. I’d rather they concentrated on the league…. that would be the week after the FA Cup Final.

I haven’t mentioned that I’ve put H and I down for more tickets to see Adele – this time at Wembley Stadium. Wembley-blooming-stadium. This is that shy girl that was shown around work back in 2007 or something, getting introduced to everyone before she had put out any music. Now look at her. Blimey.

So that’s it so far…. a few things to keep us busy. Add to that an active PTA that I’m part of, plus all the responsibilities with Brownies that I’ve got and things are really busy here – it’s all good!

* strictly speaking H has been to a York City game, when we were in the play off final at Wembley. I was about six or seven months pregnant at the time… that counts, right?

Annie the Musical UK Tour

I’ve always loved musicals, and I’m more than delighted that H has inherited my love of people randomly bursting into song for no apparent reason too. While The Sound of Music might not be her favourite (yet), there’s several musicals we love, and recently we bought tickets for Annie the Musical when it arrived at the New Wimbledon Theatre on its UK tour.

Annie the Musical logo

Annie the Musical was born in 1977 and was one which fell onto my radar properly with the 1982 film. I was hooked, the songs were catchy and I seem to remember us renting a video copy of the film many times – I knew all the songs off by heart (and I didn’t own the soundtrack until recently).

So what’s to say about Annie? You probably know the story, so I won’t go into it in detail, other than to say this production follows the original stageplay. Songs like ‘We’d Like to Thank You Herbert Hoover’ make a welcome reappearance, a sarcastic song to the former US President from the residents of Hooverville (a shantytown built during the Great Depression where homeless people live – the US had hundreds of these Hoovervilles in the 1930s)  “you made us what we are today….“.

Annie the Musical NYC

‘NYC’ is the centrepiece of the musical, lots of bright colourful trips as Annie, Grace and Daddy Warbucks decide to walk to the movies through NYC, and done so well.

For our performance the role of Miss Hannigan was played by Lesley Joseph and she was great – although I did wonder where her NY accent was – it was definitely more her own voice (which is fine, I’m not complaining) – she was excellent! It made no difference to H, mind.

Annie the Musical Hard Knock Life

The children playing the orphans were brilliant – the character of Annie is in pretty much every scene, that’s a lot of work such young children, and ours was fantastic. The orphans made a great team alongside her too.

The sets were simple but you knew where you were – H found it really exciting that the orphans all were “asleep” in their beds with the main curtains up, so we saw them there on stage before the play started, with an old thirties style radio playing music in the background.

Annie the Musical You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile

As with most musicals, the songs keep coming, and what I like the most about Annie the Musical is how clearly it tells the story of New York in poverty and how President Roosevelt was set to do something about it. With the context of the rich and poor alongside Annie’s positivity “the sun’ll come out, tomorrow…” you’re given a more complete story of New York at the end of the Great Depression and how things were set to change for the better. Which of course went way over H’s head, she just likes the songs!

Annie the Musical

Annie the Musical is on tour now, and throughout 2016 – I’d highly recommend going – and they have a well-stocked merch table too with plenty of things to choose (H went for a photo book taken from the stage show, pictures of which accompany this review – it costs £7 so not too bad at all!). Tickets can be booked here.

Project 365 – Week 46

Sunday 8th November. A calm day after a crazy night before at the local bonfire. I decided I need to wear the clothes I buy rather than keeping them “for best” – so wore my lovely new Seasalt Cornwall skirt. Love it, and a good length for me too.

Seasalt skirt

Monday 9th November. Would I like to try some chocolate which has no sugar? Oh yes please. So I’ve been trying this, at my desk, at work. I’m not sharing, I need to test it properly.

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

Tuesday 10th November. Completely random – we were left a blank envelope on our doorstep which had this inside – a random act of kindness. I’m thinking about adding the amount to the sponsorship money we’re collecting for the fun run we’ve done, as we’re raising money for the Little Princess Trust. How random and kind though! I have to admit, once I’d got over how nice it was I then got paranoid – that’ll be living in London that does that to you.

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

Wednesday 11th November. I’ve been given the chance to test a Leafcard via work for £1 for a year – if you’re with someone and eat at one of their partner restaurants, you can get a vegetarian meal for free. So if I use it once I’ve made my money back. Interesting, but we’ll see how we go.

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

Thursday 12th November. Giant crumpets. So giant I had just the one and felt full. So good though, I do love crumpets. They’re also handy as a quick breakfast when you’re heading out for a fun run (I now speak from experience).

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

Friday 13th November. Work is crazy at the moment, to the point I’m getting home and still doing some work. This is all due to our biggest album release (possibly ever) next Friday, and the lead-up to it and where my work kicks in. It has involved sleepless nights and worried days, but it’s worth it. Fortunately I keep my regular hours and work has employed someone to help me out (he was off sick for two days though, so Thursday and Friday wore me out) – so to get home and get a package for H from my mum-in-law was a good break from it all. There is a Christmas shop in Toodyay which is open all year round, and she sent H some things, two of which are here.

Aussie Christmas decorations

Saturday 14th November. Back in March I bought tickets for H and I to see Annie on stage in Wimbledon. She has never seen the stage show, and didn’t know the songs which didn’t feature in the films (until I bought her the soundtrack for her birthday), and I hadn’t seen it on stage since the eighties. We HAD to go. I may have had little tears in my eyes re-living my youth with my daughter, and she loved it. No Craig Revel Horwood as Miss Hannigan, we had Lesley Joseph (and I was fine with that) – she was good too, although I couldn’t spot her American accent too often! But she was well suited for the role.

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

Annie – Out on DVD 27th April!

As you’re probably aware, Annie was remade last year. Updated. I wanted to hate the film and the idea they’d changed a musical I’d grown up loving; the fact it was different; but actually, on seeing the trailers I had already been won over.

annie school

We went to watch Annie before Christmas at the cinema, and came out smiling – H was ridiculously happy – her favourite songs in a film on the big screen, and a story she could relate to. She prefers the remake to the 1982 film – we’re going to see the stage version this November.

So what have they changed about Annie?

She is now a foster kid – not an orphan in an orphanage. Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) takes in foster kids to get money from NY State – though she’s still not the most motherly of mothers. Annie knows she was left outside a restaurant by her parents, and a certain food they ordered, so she waits outside the same restaurant every Friday in the hope they might go back. She shares an apartment with other foster kids, and ‘Maybe’ and ‘The Hard Knock Life’ both live on.


While she’s making her way home, she’s saved from a road incident by Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) who pulls her out of the way in time from a van, saving his reputation (as someone happened to YouTube the incident, what with him wanting to be the Mayor of NY, and people recording everything on their phones all the time) – so Grace, his assistant makes a deal with Miss Hannigan to have Annie stay with him to help improve his public image. ‘I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here’ gains an update – and it fits well with a story which has a New York background to show off.

ANNIE - 2014 FILM STILL - Grace (Rose Byrne) and Annie (QuvenzhanŽ Wallis) sing "I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here" on Stacks' terrace - Photo Credit: Barry Wetcher © 2014 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved. ALL IMAGES ARE PROPERTY OF SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT INC. FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY. SALE, DUPLICATION OR TRANSFER OF THIS MATERIAL IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

So what happens next? Well, it follows the same Annie path, they grow fond of each other, he wants to adopt her, and she wants to find her real parents.


Fans of Annie will almost certainly spot the references to the original musical which pop up throughout the film – see the picture below for one within the first five minutes! Songs from the musical are referenced throughout the film, ‘NYC’ and ‘Something Was Missing’ feature in an instrumental break, the full ‘Something Was Missing’ song comes as an extra on the Blu Ray (not the DVD though) – it was never used in the final film.

annie recognising its past

Annie has moved with the times – when everyone becomes aware that Annie’s parents aren’t her real one and they need to track her down, it’s Instagram which helps them find her (I’m not sure how well that will date in thirty years, mind!) Plus mentions by pop stars like Katy Perry on Twitter – it’s a very ‘now’ film which recognises its past.

So Annie, remade. The verdict? It has a PG certificate due to some mild bad language – which went completely over H’s head. It’s fun, it’s bright, it’s a showcase for New York where lonely people find each other with a spectacular backdrop.

annie and stacks

I’d say a big green traffic light thumbs up, though it may be worth covering stranger danger with your child beforehand if they’re sensitive to it – but let them know there’s a happy ending (and let’s face it, she isn’t hanging off a bridge waiting to be saved which was always a little bit weird).

Annie is out on DVD tomorrow (did you see what I did there? Although that would be April 27th to the rest of us) – available from Amazon and all good retailers.

Annie DVD

There’s a Twitter Party going on RIGHT NOW, Sunday 26th April between 2-4pm – make sure you’re following the hashtag #anniemovieparty – come join in the fun!

We were sent a copy of the DVD and some Annie goodies (including a lovely Sandy plush toy) – everything above is our own opinion. All images were found via the internet, used without permission but to illustrate this blog post. This post contains an affiliate link. 


Annie – Coming to a Cinema near you SOON!

Since I can remember I’ve loved musicals. My favourite film is The Sound of Music, and throughout the seventies and eighties many musicals became a part of my life. In 1982 the first Annie film was made, a film I was almost quite obsessed with, despite the difference to the stage play. In 2014 a new version of Annie hits cinemas, in fact, previews start next weekend (December 19th), and they’ve modernised it.

Annie Logo

Annie, the film with the curly haired little orphaned redhead has been updated. I really wanted to hate it – I generally do when this kind of thing happens – I’m not a fan of change. But then I saw the first trailer. Then the second. The third. I held my hands up – I surrender, from these impressions it looks like they’ve done a brilliant job, even with Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) talking about Facebook, and them having to change the lyrics of some songs (fair enough).

Emma Thompson is involved! Just with the modernising, mind. Y’see, Annie is quite different. Everything is different. But if you’re going to do different, do it well.

The cast are –
Jamie Foxx as Will Stacks (the man we knew as Daddy Warbucks)
Quvenzhané Wallis as Annie
Rose Byrne as Grace
Bobby Cannavale as Guy
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Nash
David Zayas as Lou
Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan

Here’s the press release :

A Broadway classic that has delighted audiences for generations comes to the big screen with a new, contemporary vision in Columbia Pictures’ comedy, Annie. Director/Producer/Screenwriter Will Gluck teams with producers James Lassiter, Will Gluck, Jada Pinkett Smith & Will Smith, Caleeb Pinkett, Shawn “JAY Z” Carter, Laurence “Jay” Brown, Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith with a modern telling that captures the magic of the classic characters and original show that won seven Tony Awards. Celia Costas and Alicia Emmrich serve as Executive Producers. The screenplay is by Will Gluck and Aline Brosh McKenna, based on the musical stage play “Annie,” book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and on “Little Orphan Annie,” © and ® Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Academy Award® nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) stars as Annie, a young, happy foster kid who’s also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they’d be back for her someday, it’s been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). But everything’s about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) – advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) – makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in. Stacks believes he’s her guardian angel, but Annie’s self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it’s the other way around.

All being well we’ll be watching Annie next weekend, with a review to follow! The updated soundtrack is released on Monday – we have it preordered, but I’m waiting until Christmas Day before H gets it! (affiliate link)