Corry hits the target in Annie Get Your Gun

Kara Swinney and George Jones in Annie Get Your Gun
Kara Swinney and George Jones in Annie Get Your Gun

IF YOU would like a big dose of happiness, get along to the Theatre at the Mill and see Annie Get Your Gun. This show, music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, has always been a classic, be it on stage or film, and Peter Corry’s production keeps up the standard. That said, it’s different – it has a charm all of its own.

Lights down, Buffalo Bill Cody (George Jones) wanders on to the stage and solemnly tells us that there's no business like show business. Then the pace quickens, enthusiasm takes over and, with the live band on stage, he belts it out as the cast join him.

And what a cast. Multi-skilled sums them up, each a character, each playing a number of instruments. Such is their professionalism, they immediately connected with the audience and we became involved in what they were up to as members of Cody’s Wild West Show, the best show on Earth. (There’s even a bearded lady.)

This is a high-energy show and full of fun as the story unfolds of an untamed young woman with no larnin’ and few social graces. She, her sisters and little brother keep body and soul together by living on their wits and eat thanks to Annie’s (Kara Swinney) accuracy with a rifle.

Her skill brings her in touch with the Wild West Show – the story is a fictionalised version of the life of wild-west-show sharpshooter Annie Oakley – where she meets Frank Butler (Blair Robertson); they fall in love and vulnerable tomboy Annie mellows to a feisty young woman.

Corry, who has brought together actors from Scotland and London with local young performers, has an eye for beauty. Some of the tableaux he creates on stage are lovely, enhanced with excellent lighting, especially when Annie sings a lullaby to her siblings. One of the best scenes comes towards the end when Annie and Frank sing out their rivalry with Anything You Can Do.

Cast, band and production team deserved and got a standing ovation. There really is No Business Like Show Business – be part of it and come away singing.

:: Until October 10 (theatreatthemill.com).


Annie Get Your Gun

Theatre at the Mill