The show started its UK tour in Manchester with all guns blazing and, within minutes, there were more than a dozen cowboys and showgirls at the front of the stage belting out ”There’s No Business Like Show Business.”
Annie Get Your Gun is touring the UK now and is well worth a look. The musical is back in the North West in August. You can see it at the Liverpool Empire from Tuesday 5 August to Saturday August 9.
Annie Get Your Gun is an endearing show – performed with a sincere gusto which takes us back to a time when life was simpler and the musical creates the warm, comforting feeling that goes with that – in other words it serves up a winning formula to provide a good night out for audiences who love a classic musical.
The action takes place under a red and white striped tent canopy and there’s an eight-piece orchestra on show, tastefully low-lit on a sort of veranda at the back of the stage – allowing the musicians to add zest and old-world charm to the proceedings – but please could someone move the orchestra conductor’s computer monitor out of sight, lest it spoil the magic?
A ragged, dirt-poor Annie (played by Emma Williams) makes her first appearance dragging her impoverished young siblings around in an old cart. Emma Williams makes an immediate impact in the role and gets the audience onside with her portrayal of innocent and honest Annie as well as the feisty and competitive sharpshooting Annie. Much of the feelgood impact from the show comes from her charm in the role. I believed in her and liked her as Annie immediately.
If Jason Donovan hadn’t been billed as the star, I wouldn’t have recognised him as the square-jawed, stubble-faced, gun-toting hero, with a gravelly American accent, who we first meet with his face partly hidden under the shadow of his Stetson. I was rather taken by the square jaw and stubble and thought I’d like to see the eternally-youthful Aussie try a few more baddie roles.
Some people have said they thought Jason Donovan’s voice wasn’t quite strong enough but I thought the former Neighbours star and West End stage veteran played his part in creating the winning charm of this production.
There’s plenty to enjoy in Annie Get Your Gun. The fun of the shooting competitions between sweethearts and rivals, Annie Oakley and Frank Butler, the twists and turns on the path of true love, and the big personalities and precarious fortunes of the travelling shows, are all engagingly portrayed.
The stand-out songs for me were ”There’s No Business Like Show Business,” ”Doing what Comes Naturally,” and ”Moonshine Lullaby.”
There’s some fine singing and dancing in Annie Get Your Gun and what’s not to like about a stage full of cowboys and showgirls singing and dancing their hearts out?
In Annie Get Your Gun, the troupe of actors sets out to amuse and charm us with the energetic determination of the heroine herself. They hit the target and make this 70-year-old Irving Berlin classic musical a sure-fire winner for every old and young romantic.
For ticket information go the following website: www.atgtickets.com.