Jason Donovan and Emma Williams
Star in a major new production of Irving Berlin’s classic musical
Annie Get Your Gun opened at the Theatre Royal Brighton to a packed house. Virtually every seat was taken. The atmosphere hummed with expectation.
First opening in New York in 1946, produced by Rodgers and Hammersten, songwriter Irving Berlin created some of his most memorable hits. Last night these included;
There’s No Business Like Show Business
Anything You Can Do
I Got Lost In His Arms
The show opens in Cincinnati, Ohio as a big top circus travels across late 19th century America starring Buffalo Bill played by Norman Pace (Hale and Pace comedy duo). The small band gives a good account of itself with a lively score.
Donovan was cheered as he arrived on stage, but his singing was a little, well, wooden. However he has a wonderful smile when the spotlight centred on him. He was ably supported by William Oxborrow playing Charlie Davenport whose voice was rich and deep.
Top billing has to go to Emma Williams playing Annie Oakley. Arriving as an illiterate waif who baths occasionally she proves to be the greatest sharpshooter of them all. In the first act she is even suspended above the stage shooting from a trapeze!
Williams singing is superb. Undoubtedly the star of the show her musical genius shines through. She is a cut above the rest. She falls for Frank Butler played by Donovan. The cast blend well together- in a scene set on a train they all rock and sway from side to side in a most convincing manner.
Annie Get Your Gun
Directed by Ian Talbot and designed by Paul Farnsworth this production of Annie Get Your Gun is colourful and lively causing the audience to clap enthusiastically with genuine applause.
Past comments of sexism and racism seemed unfounded. When Frank first meets Annie he remarks;
“Little girls shouldn’t play with guns.” Chauvinist perhaps, sexist no. The show is in keeping with the times in which it was set and written.
As for racism, presumably referring to the treatment of the native Americans, I felt that if anything it was the opposite. Writers Herbert Fields, Dorothy Fields and Peter Stone acknowledge the hardship suffered by the Red Indians and make light of it in an amusing and original way with Ed Currie playing a convincing Chief Sitting Bull.
All in all, well worth seeing.
Tue 26 – Sat 30 Aug
Wed, Thu & Sat mat 2.30pm
To book tickets
0844 871 7650*
*Subject to a booking fee