Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood stars as ‘baddie’ Miss Hannigan in Annie at the New Victoria Woking
Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood is used to being booed so he’ll be used to it when audiences at Annie turn on him.
The star audiences love to hate is playing Miss Hannigan in the much-loved tale of orphan Annie which starts at Woking’s Victoria Theatre next week.
He’s reviving a role he took on in the West End in the 2015/16 tour and is delighted to be reprising it in Woking.
He said: “I couldn’t believe that they wanted me to play Miss Hannigan at first, but I thought it would be great and a real challenge for me. I play her for real – she’s not a pantomime dame, there’s no mucking about or breaking the fourth wall, she’s a very real character in a beautifully written show.”
The musical features some of the most well-known songs and you’re sure to join in with Tomorrow and It’s A Hard Knock Life. In case you don’t know the story of Annie, the youngster is forced to live a life of misery at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. But is determined to find her real parents. Her luck changes when she spends Christmas with famous billionaire Oliver Warbucks. Miss Hannigan has other ideas and sets about spoiling Annie’s plan.
Playing Miss Hannigan presents Craig with lots of fun, he explained: “Body language has a lot to do with that, the placement of the voice and the accent of course – which I spent six months perfecting.
“As Annie is set in 1930s New York, it’s really nice to play a part who speaks differently than almost anyone does these days. It was a really enjoyable challenge.”
Craig’s love of musical theatre started in Sydney in the 1970s when he went to see Jesus Christ Superstar. He started training at 14 and when he saw Cats in London around that time he says he just knew that was the path for him.
He went on to do several musicals in Australia before joining the Lido de Paris and the Moulin Rouge which then led him into West End shows and after appearing in Crazy For You in 1993 he then switched track.
He said: “I had a really fun year that year. I then left to become a director and choreographer and subsequently a judge on Strictly.
“My first hoorah back onto the boards was when I was asked to do panto ten years ago and the reignited my passion for performing again.
“When I was then asked to do Annie a few years ago I couldn’t believe it, but it’s such a talented cast, I couldn’t say no.”
And what about future roles? Craig admits he likes to create them and enjoyed doing a movie, Nativity Rocks, last year, which had an improvised script with the character being created from scratch. But he admitted: “I wouldn’t mind playing a boy at some stage. I tend to get lots of female roles which is great because I love playing women but it would be nice to play a bloke so I will aim high and say I’m aiming for the next Bond!”
But something he definitely wouldn’t need as the next Bond are his ‘must-have’ items he takes with him – eyelashes and eyelash glue.
Away from the theatre and TV studio, Craig loves to cook in his down time. He said: “I like sleeping in my own bed and cooking in my own home. There’s nothing better to pass the time – whether to test and make up some new recipes or really to get stuck into cooking something. I love it, I could cook for days on end.”
Fans of Craig’s acerbic comments won’t have to wait that long until he’s back on our TV screens as Strictly is set to return in September but this year minus judge Dame Darcey Bussell, so who does he think should step into her sparkly shoes?
“I think it’s got to be someone who knows about dance and comes from a dance world. I’m certainly going to miss Darcey a lot, she’s a class act.
“There are a lot of people who could do it and I want them to choose someone who is right for the job and has an opinion which is the most important thing.”
See Craig Revel Horwood in Annie at Victoria Theatre, Woking from Monday 10th to Saturday, 15th June. Tickets from £19.50. To book, call the box office on 0844 871 7645 or online at
Photos: Craig Revel Horwood as Miss Hannigan in Annie Credit: Paul Coltas