Ms Syal is no stranger to the stage, indeed with shows such as Bombay Dreams, playing the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, the Vagina Monologues and of course Shirley Valentine, on a cold and dismal night in late December, I took my seat, excited to see what more could be brought to the character of the alcoholic, ready to take on anything and everyone that comes her way, somewhat despotic owner of the orphanage where our young red-headed orphan resides.
There can’t be many who are strangers to this rags-to-riches tale. Good always Trumps bad. Speaking of Presidents, look out for a special appearance from President Roosevelt. The story whizzes along at breakneck speed and Syal throws herself into the role, melding with the cast cohesively and showing off her enunciation and dancing skills in equal measure. Much must be made of being able to work alongside school-age children and the interaction between Syal and the young Annie (they are played in rotation). Ruby Stokes performed on the night I attended and she certainly lived up to the red coloured wig she donned, giving her all with gusto, and the sun certainly will come out tomorrow and each subsequent day.
Alex Bourne as Daddy Warbucks was a treat and of course, Amber the dog was almost ignorant to the fact that she was performing to a full house, such was the nonchalance of her wagging tail. Syal certainly has found her feet in Easy Street and I would welcome the chance to again go and see her, such was her vivacity. She made it look effortless, and when something isn’t forced, it is always a pleasure to watch.
Annie tickets at the Piccadilly Theatre are available until 18 February. Book now to see this classic show before it's too late!