The wild west show is riding into town

The stars of stage show, Annie Get Your Gun: from left Norman Pace, Emma Williams and Jason Donovan
The stars of stage show, Annie Get Your Gun: from left Norman Pace, Emma Williams and Jason Donovan
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If musical westerns are up your street then there can be few better than Annie Get Your Gun. Based on the true story of sharp shooter Annie Oakley and her competitive romance with rival marksman Frank Butler, the show comes to the Waterside next month.

Starring Jason Donovan as Butler, Emma Williams as Annie and Norman Pace as Buffalo Bill, the show is on a six month tour of the UK writes Heather Jan Brunt.

Butler and Annie both worked for the Wild West Circus show produced by Buffalo Bill, an Americna soldier, bison hunter and showman.

This production of Annie Get Your Gun is a ‘show within a show’. The centre of the stage is the Circus Big Top where the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show takes place, while the remainder of the action takes place on the rest of the stage.

Director Ian Talbot said: “It’s got the most wonderful score with one hit after another. It’s incredibleto think that Annie was a real person, so ahead of her time.”

Annie, who sings Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better was a 19th century proto-feminist.

Mr Talbot said: “Emma’s got all the right qualities to play the role of Annie Oakley. She’s fiesty and has a voice to die for. She’s so conscientious she’s gone off and had trapeze lessons to give her a head start. It’s a hugely demandign role.”

Emma, a two-time Olivier nominee and a member of MENSA, said: “I aim to be more ripped than I’ve ever been at the end of this tour.

“It’s all part of maintaining a show like this, being physically strong.

“I am doing a lot of circus training at the moment, stilt walking, juggling. We’ve got a trapeze as well. Annie was a real trick shot. She used to shoot over her shoulder using a mirror and she could hit things without looking.

“Buffalo Bill decides that having a girl who can shoot fantastically and looks great, which w as rare in those times, should be their star attraction.

“She does this amazing trick and unfortunately it’s the one thing that may make her lose Frank, the love of her life, when she thinks it’s going to be the one thing that will make him fall at her feet.”

Emma is very excited to be working with Jason Donovan and had to kiss him on the first day of rehearsals just four hours after they had met.

She said: “We started the song, the swell of music happened, and he kissed me. I was supposed to come back in but I forgot what I was supposed to say. Getting to work with someone as lovely as Jason is an absolute privilege and pleasure.”

The show runs from July 22 - 26, evenings 7.30pm, matinees 2.30pm. Tickets from £20. Box office 0844 871 7607.