Fiona Duff: Annie get your musical - or panto

Anne Smith trained at Queen Margarets College in Edinburgh
Anne Smith trained at Queen Margarets College in Edinburgh
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I have a friend called Anne Smith. You probably haven’t heard of her, but if life was fair you certainly would know that name.

Anne, originally from Kirkcaldy and trained at Queen Margaret’s College in Edinburgh, has one of the best singing voices I have ever heard. In addition, she has brilliant comic timing, whether on stage in pantomime or sitting around my kitchen table regaling us with her tales.

Of course, life as an actor is tough for the majority in this profession.

Most actors I know can pull a great pint of beer. And the sad thing is that most probably spend more time working behind a bar than in front of a camera. Anyway, there is a reason why I am rambling on about Anne. You see, she’s done a lot of work in West End musicals – so often understudying main roles and often drafted in at the last minute to fill some famous shoes. I’ve seen her as Evita as well as playing the Julie Walters role in Mamma Mia.

In fact, if any casting directors want someone to play Ms Walters’ younger sister, then they need look no further, as although they were born hundreds of miles apart, there is something uncannily alike about them.

However, getting to see her in those last-minute roles was easy when I lived in London. She’d call me, I would jump on the Underground and be in Shaftesbury Avenue in the shake of a lamb’s tail. Or 40 minutes, as most journeys in London take.

Right now Anne is in Annie – first of all understudying Miranda Hart as the beastly Miss Hannigan, and now doing the same for Craig Revell Horwood.

Those of you who spend their Saturday evenings perched in front of the TV might well realise that there is a problem with his casting in the role as he has Strictly commitments that evening.

So there it is – if you fancy seeing this great Scottish actress where she belongs, then go to the Piccadilly Theatre any Saturday before Christmas.

I tell you – she’s a cracker.