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It is Easy Street to Annie the Musical at Orchard Theatre Dartford

By Lynn Cox

Fab-u-lous darling!

That's what the cast of Annie the Musical were last night as they took to the stage at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford.

I'd been out the night before to see Paul Weller in concert and I'm not used to going out twice a week, but hey, burning the candle at both ends was so, so worth it.

Some of the cast of Annie the Musical
Some of the cast of Annie the Musical

I'd sort of forgotten the storyline of Annie, it's been decades since I watched the film, but I knew she had red hair and Daddy Warbucks was bald.

I could remember only one song... Tomorrow, but it all came flooding back to me as soon as the beautifully written show opened.

The production has come to Kent after an extended season in the West End and following a sell-out UK and Ireland tour.

Annie is set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, when brave orphan Annie has to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage.

Craig Revell-Horwood stars in Annie
Craig Revell-Horwood stars in Annie

Determined to find her real parents, her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks.

The set, the characters - especially the youngsters who are the orphans - were utterly superb from the moment they stepped on stage.

The star of the show was Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood, playing Miss Hannigan, a pull for many theatre goers, and as I said, he was fabulous darling, but for me, the orphan girls who stole the show.

Don't get me wrong, Craig played such a wonderful woman, not only a brilliant villain, but also the funniest character on stage.

The show is a must for musical lovers
The show is a must for musical lovers

And the song, You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile, was sung by the orphans mostly, but could have been an absolutely perfect one for Craig because he never stopped smiling at all, he obviously loves playing the buxom tyrant.

And Annie (Ava Smith who played her on the opening night), was just awesome in her role - strong, sassy and just so talented.

But that has to be said about all the young children who played orphans in the show. Their rendition of It's the Hard Knock Life was just superb.

Tiny Tia Grace Isaac who plays orphan Molly is also a young rising star of the stage, she was brilliant.

Craig as Miss Hannigan
Craig as Miss Hannigan

And look out for Sandy the dog... another star of the show, which honestly, is must for all musical lovers.

Craig plays Miss Hannigan in most of the show's 2019 tour dates, but Birds of a Feather star Lesley Joseph plays her on some dates.

The show is at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford until Saturday, June 22. Book at orchardtheatre.co.uk or call 01322 220000.

The show is also at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury from Monday, October 14 to Saturday, October 19.

Book at marlowetheatre.com or call 01227 787787.

Read more: All the latest stage news across Kent

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