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Annie Get Your Gun, Theatre Royal Glasgow - 2nd – 6th September 2014

Published by: Jon Cuthbertson on 3rd Sep 2014 | View all blogs by Jon Cuthbertson

The Big Top of Buffalo Bill’s Sharpshooting Show hits Glasgow with an all new production, a revised script and jazzy choreography, but is it enough to update the sexual politics and implied racism to work for a modern day audience?



Setting the story of Frank Butler and Annie Oakley as a “show within a show” is a device that makes much more sense of the Irving Berlin score and allows choreographer Lizze Gee to add some energy with suitable movement to match the music. Combining this with the clever staging inside Buffalo Bill’s Big Top moves the show along at a great pace, utilising some simple boxes and clever lighting – plus a dramatic announcement of the scene change – to move swiftly from scene to scene with the minimum of fuss. This “music hall” style production is matched in costume too where the ensemble simply add a waistcoat and hat or a coat or even a feather headdress and jacket to become the other characters along the way.


So far so good, however we then meet our leading man. Unfortunately Jason Donovan seems to have lost the spark he once had as a performer – his voice sounded thin and he lacked the energy of the others in the cast. This was never more obvious than in his duets with leading lady Emma Williams. Appearing on stage with a “bang” (quite literally), Ms Williams never let a moment fail her – her energy and charm won the audience over immediately. With a great sense of comic timing and a beautiful voice too, it is worth the ticket price alone to see her lead this cast. This was never more evident than in “I Got The Sun In The Morning” where she leads the ensemble in a rousing song and dance number. Although the females get a good chance to steal this show (Kara Lane delivering a vibrant Dolly Tate), William Oxborrow manages to pull something back for the guys as Charlie – with an assured delivery and a solid voice to match.


In the story, Annie meets Frank as his competitor in a sharpshooting competition and his manager signs her up to join the show, and realising her potential they build her part in the act until she eventually takes top billing. So perhaps the show within a show became a case of art imitating life. Although Jason Donovan was the star billing (much like Frank Butler over Annie Oakley), Emma Williams has come through to shine as the star of this show.



Tuesday 2 – Saturday 6 September

Mon –Sat eves 7.30pm

Wed, Thurs & Sat mats 2.30pm

Box Office: 0844 871 7648 (bkg fee)

Website: (bkg fee)



1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 3 years ago
    Thanks, Jon. I agree - this 'show within a show' format is a great success (I saw this quite effectively a few years ago). Sounds like Emma Williams is a name to look out for in future.
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