Being Miss Hannigan means dressing as an old bag

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Playing the evil Miss Hannigan in the musical Annie means plenty of make up for actress Lesley Joseph - but for all the wrong reasons.

We’re more used to seeing Lesley wearing tight fitting catsuits playing the lovable trollop Dorien Green in Birds of a Feather.

But on stage in Annie - Lesley admits she looks like an old bag.

“I have a ginger wig with white roots and rolled down stockings,” she said. “I’m a real old bag.”

When Birds of a Feather returned to the screens after an absence of 15 years, Lesley said she had a lot of work to do to get back into Dorien’s trademark catsuits.

“I had to hire a personal trainer to get back into shape,” she admitted. “So I could get into the figure hugging clothes. And I succeeded.

“But now I’m back on the stage as Miss Hannigan I’m eating cake and starting to put on a little weight.”

For the veteran actress of stage and screen this version of Annie is a gritty production.

“You can’t compare this version of Annie to any other that you have seen, or to the film,” she said. “This one is completely different.”

This is not the first time Lesley’s played Miss Hannigan.

She’s previously taken the West End by storm in “Annie” at the West End’s Victoria Palace.

And the first Annie she ever played opposite was Sophie McShera who achieved fame as kitchen maid Daisy in Downton Abbey.

“I’m delighted to see her success,” said Lesley. “She kept at it and was hugely successful.

“There are so much hugely talented kids coming up through the ranks - actors that can sing, dance and act. They can do it all.”

Tomorrow - as Dorien prepares for opening night, she says she’s looking forward to seeing a bit of Derry, a city she has never visited before.

“My favourite song from the show is Easy Street which Miss Hannigan sings with Rooster and Lily St Regis.

“It’s a dance number as well as a musical number.

“But I also love the song Tomorrow, which is an anthem of hope. The song starts sings that tomorrow is always a day away, just out of reach. And by the end the song is saying tomorrow is only a day a way, and not as far out of reach as you thought. I think that message is really important.”

The show plays Derry for one week beginning on Tuesday at the Millennium Forum.

With its award-winning book and score, this stunning new production includes the unforgettable songs Hard Knock Life, Easy Street, I Don’t Need Anything But You and Tomorrow. Don’t miss Annie – you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll love it!

To book tickets log on to www.millenniumforum.co.uk or ring the box office on 02871264455.

The show closes on Saturday night.