Take a trip back into the American Wild West and re-visit the "Buffalo Bill Wild West Show" at the Playhouse Theatre. "Annie Get Your Gun" has been a stage favourite for nearly 70 years (the first Broadway production was in 1946), and is rightly regarded as one of the "classics of American musical theatre". With lyrics and music by one of the masters of that genre, Irving Berlin, we get a show with some timeless songs - including " There's No Business Like Show Business", " Doin' What Comes Natur'lly", " You Can't Get a Man with a Gun", " They Say It's Wonderful", and "Anything You Can Do."
This is the fictionalised version of the life of Annie Oakley (Emma Williams), how she joined and travelled with Buffalo Bill (Norman Pace) and the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, and her romance with show sharpshooter Frank Butler (Jason Donovan).
All leading role performers are on great form in tonight's show - particularly Emma Williams who just has an incredible voice that seems to be able to handle with ease the huge range of vocal skills that this role demands of a performer. When you have an Irving Berlin score to work with, then you better be up to the task of singing the songs as some of these "masterpieces" are difficult vocal challenges for any singer. Also, so many people know these classics that any mistake will be picked up immediately by the audience. Tonight though, Emma Williams delivered the goods.
Jason Donovan was also in fine form tonight. He just seems to have the casual ease that allows him to shift into many stage roles but somehow still add a little bit of "Jason Donovan" to them - both vocally and physically. The role of Frank Butler looks at times to be an easy one to play on stage, but that is only because we are lucky enough to have someone with enough acting experience to make the role look this easy.
There are many strong supporting cast members on stage tonight too as this is also the story of the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show cast too.
If you get the chance, go and see "Annie" on its run at the Playhouse Theatre. This is a family show with a large cast and large production values, and classic songs from the golden age of musical theatre.
Review by Tom King