Annie Get Your Gun
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN
There can be fewer settings more magnificent
than Liverpool's Empire Theatre for any form of theatrical production.
Whether the genre be Classic Opera, Contemporary Rock or high-steamed
farce, the stage comes alive when performers are on it. If you like
your performers to belt out 'Golden Oldies', then what better show can
there be than Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun and what finer
songs than There's No Business Like Show Business, Doin' What
Comes Naturally and the superb Anything You Can Do, when
they are all sung with a gusto worthy of the West End itself.
Rebecca Thornhill in the lead role of
Annie Oakley, was immaculate in her singing and goosebumps abounded
as she hits the high notes. Everything she did was excellent, but her
rendition of Can't Get A Man With a Gun was outstanding, as is
the scene in which she is swinging high across the stage shooting her
Supported extremely well by Steven Houghton
in the role of Frank Butler, he managed to change the mood of the show
with his range of performance, from a hard womaniser to a young man
smitten by the joys of love.
Charles Lawson's Buffalo Bill showed
that there is a lot more to him than just an ex-soap star treading the
boards: his singing and dancing were of a standard Jim McDonald from
Coronation Street can surely only dream of. Graham Newell, in as understudy
playing Tommy Keeler, showed that he has the talent to be a star of
the stage for many years to come.
The ensemble as a whole was extremely
enthusiastic, with Keisha Marina Atwell in particular catching the eye
with all that she did. The slick changes of scenery went mostly without
a hitch, though the wrong curtain came down at one point.
Two criticisms are that the first half
was a little too long with the second half being too short and, secondly,
it is now the 21st Century and as such some changes needs to be made
to the characterisation in some of these 'classic' musicals. Chief Sitting
Bull, for example, was portrayed at times as the very stereotypical
Native American Indian and at times had the audience shuffling in their
seats with embarrassment. This is no criticism of actor Joshua Bancel,
but rather of the need for some aspects of this, and other productions
for that matter, to be updated.
Nevertheless, director Timothy Sheader
has done an excellent job bringing this 'classic' to our doorsteps and
long may it continue. In the words of one of the great songs on the
night, Let's Get On With The Show.
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Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit. - Chris High 2003.
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