Theatre – Annie Get Your Gun – Young Vic
Star rating – 8/10
Irving Berlin’s famous musical is not often revived these days. Possibly something to do with the racist overtones in the original, sidestepped here in this new production by Richard Jones, by leaving out the less PC elements like the ‘I’m an Indian Too’ number. It is also a show without a shred of a feminist leaning, where the moral of the story is for women to be pink and fluffy, and to let their desired man win in any contest in order to win him over.
So, not one for Spare Rib readers then. But having said all that, this production, with the brilliantly versatile Jane Horrocks in the title role, is a bundle of laughs, and irresistible fun. Horrocks again demonstrates her vocal range, as she also did so memorably in ‘Little Voice’. Her target hunk is also played with style, and tongue firmly in cheek by Julian Ovenden, as Frank Butler. There is also a great supporting cast, who in the main only add value to the proceedings, perhaps except for a weak link in Buffalo Bill.
The score is arranged to great effect for four pianists, with heart warming numbers like ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’; ‘Anything You Can Do’; and ‘They Say it’s Wonderful’. There is real chemistry between Annie and Frank, and the story of their on/off/on again/off again… love affair is heartening. Even with the anti feminist message of the show, I am still a sucker for a good musical, and this is a great one, with a good modern production and another star turn by the leading gun toting Horrocks.