Those lovely people at ShowFilmFirst.com invited me to a night out at the Manchester Opera House to see the new production of Irving Berlin's - Annie Get Your Gun, starring Jason Donovan as Frank Butler, Emma Williams as Annie Oakley and Norman Pace as Buffalo Bill!
The story revolves around the legendary Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and two sharp shooters, Frank Butler and Annie Oakley, fighting against each other to be the top shooter and against their love for one and other.
Filled with all of the classic songs, There's No Business Like Show Business, Anything You Can Do, The Girl That I Marry, You Can't Get A Man With A Gun, and many more.
I last saw Jason Donovan in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat many years ago and thought he was very good, sadly Jason's voice wasn't the strongest in this production and at times he was drowned out with the ensemble. Emma Williams can certainly hold a note as demonstrated in Anything You Can Do, you could hear the audience gasp for air as she continued to sing " any note you can sing, I can sing longer" and she certainly could sing it longer!
I thought Norman Pace was virtually unrecognisable as Buffalo Bill with his beard, and should have had a little more stage presence but alas the musical isn't really about him is it?!
The songs were certainly foot tapping and surprisingly I knew a lot more than I realised, however I did think There's No Business Like Show Business was slightly overused, it was used in the opening number, then a couple of reprisals in the first half, then again in the second, before using it in the finishing song so much so that I woke up singing it the next morning.
The main stage layout is of the circus tent with the orchestra sitting on stage, the different acts of the musical are announced along with the location and then it's all hands on deck as the layout is changed to accommodate the location. Lighting and boxes are used to depict the train scene and the boat scene, boxes are stacked to depict the hotel's doorway and Annie Oakley's dressing room all whilst the circus tent is in the background.
Given that the show is in it's first week, I have to say I did quite enjoy it, but it wouldn't have been something I would have voluntarily paid to watch given that the tickets ranged up to £45.
*I was invited to see the show for free, I was not asked to write a review but have done so of my own free will.