Peter Corry’s Annie Get Your Gun is simple but effective. The director has kept the cast small but multitalented, with most actors doubling up as band members. The simplicity of this piece is reflected in both the lighting and set design. Faded star-spangled banners adorn the floor and back wall of the theatre, while a small staircase flanked by band members and props makes-up the remainder of the design with a vintage looking Wild West themed fire curtain used occasionally to disguise set changes.
The costumes also have a charming but faded authenticity, settling for a washed-out realism rather than an abundance of sequins and Stetsons.
The small but extremely capable ensemble cast fills the space as best they can, but at times Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show does seem a little sparse. Any meagreness is quickly forgotten when Kara Swinney as Annie and Blair Robertson as Frank take to the stage: both actors have exceptional voices to which they add characterful and lively performances. Paul Lincoln as Charlie punctuates the show with well-timed comic asides.
The delivery of the choreography is weak in places. Corry may have chosen gifted actors and musicians over dancers, which is understandable with Berlin’s music. The ensemble and musicians work hard and it pays off.
This production tackles a classic with modern ideas, and an apparently small budget, but its general success is to the credit of a hard-working cast and a thoughtful director.