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Spa sparkles and sharp-shoots

PUBLISHED: 19:00 05 June 2002 | UPDATED: 15:27 03 March 2010

IT'S the rootin'est, tootin'est, sharpest shootin'est musical of all time - with its comedy and songs bang on target.

Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun is one of the best-loved productions of stage and screen and is set to hit the stage of the Spa Pavilion this month for a four-night run.

IT'S the rootin'est, tootin'est, sharpest shootin'est musical of all time – with its comedy and songs bang on target.

Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun is one of the best-loved productions of stage and screen and is set to hit the stage of the Spa Pavilion this month for a four-night run.

Set in the cowboy territory of the Wild West, the cast is hoping that the theatre will not come under attack like it did last time they staged the show. . . though it was mud and not apaches which caused the damage.

Back in 1992, Felixstowe Musical Theatre's production of Annie Get Your Gun was curtailed to just two performances after a burst water main caused the cliff behind the theatre to partially collapse and a mud slide to flood the building.

They are hoping it will be all right on the night this time for the show, which runs at the 913-seater venue from Wednesday June 12 to Saturday June 15 at 7.30pm with a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm.

Annie Get Your Gun is based on the true story of Anne Oakley but the truth is stretched a little for the sake of the musical, which includes comedy, romance, an excellent chorus, lively dance routines, superb songs, and some lovely children's character parts.

Annie's sharp-shooting career began in August 1860 when she defeated the notable marksman Frank E Butler in a competition. The pair travelled with the Buffalo Bill wild west show for 17 years.

In this story, Annie wins the match but not Frank's heart and when she later outshines him again in front of a rival impresario and Big Chief Sitting Bull, he leaves the show – and it's the end of the romance until a reunion party and a final shoot-out.

It is the third time that FMT have presented the show – as well as that fateful 1992 run, they also performed it in 1977.

In 1977, Ruth Miller – now joint co-ordinator of Felixstowe Drama Festival – was Annie, and in 1992 it was Angela Billing (then Maskell) who took the role.

Angela turns up in the role of Dolly Tate in this month's show, while Annie is played by Clare Perkins.

Back in 1977, Simon Hopkins was a young man in the chorus, while this year, many principal parts later, he will play Buffalo Bill.

The talented cast also includes Alex Shulver as Frank Butler, Stephen Lawrence as Charlie Davenport, David Cook as Pawnee Bill and Dudley Knights as Big Chief Sitting Bull.

The show is directed by Sonya Taylor with Jan Green as choreographer, and the 16-piece orchestra, conducted by Barry Grunnel, will perform the music, which includes There's No Business Like Show Business, The Girl That I Marry, Anything You Can Do, Doin' What Comes Naturally, and You Can't Get a Man With a Gun.

n Tickets are £8.50 (concessions £6.50) and it's two for one on the first night, available from the Spa Box Office on 01394 282126.

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