Annie Get Your Gun
Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
Book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields

Dates and Venue 9 July – 16 August 2008 @ 8pm | The Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park

Director Shel Piercy Music Director Wendy Bross Stuart Choreographer Shelley Stewart Hunt Set Design Robert Gardiner Stage Manager Inga Pedersen Lighting Design Gerald King Costume Design Chris Sinoshich

Reviewer Susan Peake

It has been more years that I would care to admit since I last sat in the audience to take in a version of Annie Get Your Gun. Prior to revisiting Irving Berlin’s classic musical last Wednesday at Theatre Under the Stars, my recollections were of a light, fun-filled, perky musical. This musical was all that and more. I was not disappointed.

Under the direction of the very accomplished, Shel Piercy, this “Annie” takes us to a place more politically correct than its original story. It is still dated, but, with issues that include women’s rights and Native American prejudices, we are reminded of how far we have come in attempting to level the cultural and gender playing field.

The unlikely love connection between a somewhat sophisticated world-renowned sharp shooter, Frank Butler, and the silly, backwoods hayseed, Annie, who challenges the #1 title, is not one that would happen in today’s world. However, we can laugh at the way things were back in the Buffalo Bill days when men were men and women were frilly.

Meghan Anderssen, who plays Annie Oakley, is nothing short of magical. She brings more energy, spirit and enthusiasm to the role than one could ever imagine. Her antics on stage are hilarious from her knee slapping snorting to her exaggerated about-faces; she keeps the audience in stitches. The musical highlight, of course, is when Annie and Frank belt out the well-known number “Anything You Can Do”.

Warren Kimmel (Frank Butler) is the perfect adversary, and as the saying goes, he demonstrates that opposites do attract. Kimmel’s popularity as an accomplished actor is evident in his ubiquitousness. He recently completed a run in Tuesdays with Morrie at the Arts Club Theatre, and he can be seen regularly on the TV series, Stargate.

Stephen Aberle as Buffalo Bill Cody, the silver-haired, flashy dressed leader of the traveling show, was delightful; as was Doug Pinkerton, as Chief Sitting Bull. Both these characters brought additional laughs that kept the audience warm as the evening air in the park cooled.

Kimberly Page as Dolly gave a strong performance. However, I was wishing I could turn down the volume a bit, as her delivery was more than my ears could take at times. The ensemble cast performed some wonderful numbers; “My Defenses Are Down” and “I Got the Sun In The Morning” as well as the human train choreography, to name a few.

The musical ends at 11:00 p.m., so keep this in mind if you are thinking of bringing small children. Also, bring a jacket; you will need it when the sun goes down. The Stanley Park venue is charming and the whole experience is well worth taking in.

© 2008 Susan Peake