Get On Down To Annie Get Your Gun

Review: Toe-tapping show is a treat from start to finish

Annie Get Your Gun at New Wimbledon Theatre is great fun. The Irving Berlin classic musical, loosely based on the true story of Buffalos Bill’s Wild West Show and it sharp-shooting star Ann Moses, has been updated (and politically corrected) to deliver an all singing, all dancing, rip roaring, toe tapping show. From the first note of There’s No Business Like Show Business to the final reprise, it’s everything theatre should be – good to look at, good to listen to and entertaining all the way through.

At heart it’s a love story, girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl meets boy again and of course it comes out all right in the end. The story’s interwoven with plenty of sub-plots and there’s a lot of fun to be had long the way as the circus travels across America and eventually tours Europe. There’s even Cossack dancing to indicate when they get to Russia

The undoubted star of the show is Emma Williams as Annie; she’s got the good looks, great dance moves – she even hangs form a trapeze at one point – great comic timing and boy can she sing! Her rendering of Can’t Get a Man With a Gun is terrific; she’s a true heiress to the great Ethel Merman who played Annie in 1936. It’s a very funny song but at one point Emma makes it quite heartbreaking. And when she sings Anything You can Do I Can Do Better, we believe it. Whatever it is, Emma can do it better.

The love interest here is Frank Butler who is played by Jason Donovan but sad to say, Jason doesn’t rise to the role. He’s still got the looks, but he lacks stage presence and was outshone and outsung by the amazing Emma at every turn. Frank Butler was an arrogant, shallow creature but the girls still  fell for him. The part needs someone with a lot more oomph to carry it off and make his attraction believable. I wouldn’t have blamed Annie if she’d gone off with someone else.

But don’t let that put you off, it’s a real treat. Sadly, it’s only on until the weekend so you’d better get your skates one.

Penny Flood

September 11, 2014

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