Banbridge Musical Society’s production of ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ goes off with a bang - and ends in a shooting success!
Open on a dimly lit, bare stage, with only a few scattered characters standing in front of a circus-like tent, a spotlight hits a young man (Killian Foy), and his low voice gently sings the iconic lyric “There’s no business like show business...” which begins the journey of “Annie Get Your Gun” at the Iveagh Movie Studios, Banbridge.
The musical, based loosely on the true story of a post-Civil War sharpshooter and her experiences in show business, preaches that empowerment and individuality are at the core of success.
Director Leonard Anderson hit this target impeccably. He threaded together the ideals of equality and personal integrity while creating an aesthetically appealing piece, using tricks such as “gunshots” created by instrumental sound change accompanied by the single beat of a drum.
He also directed a tough yet vulnerable Annie Oakley, played by Lorraine Jackson - Brown. “Lorraine portrayed bright-eyed Annie as a quirky, charming and independent young woman with an ever-present grin. She met the challenge of being a leading lady by dominating the stage and driving her fellow cast mates to success.” said company Chairperson Rosemary Kelly
From her first entrance, Lorraine confidently established herself as a powerful female role model, asserting that she “don’t shoot like no girl.”
From that moment, Lorraine’s’ presence was infectious, and she deserved every laugh and tear she evoked.
Frank Butler played by Killian Foy, the leading man of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, lived up to being the “big, swollen-headed stiff” described by Annie. Killian Foy’s character Frank Butler went from a cool, confident headliner to a tender, gentle man in a seamless transition.
That change seemed innate for Killian, as Frank exposed his true self to Annie, and his melodic voice provided the majority of his most authentic character work. Other members of the cast worth mentioning include Patrick McGennity as Charlie Davenport, the sarcastic and determined manager of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show; Jacqueline Mathews, who had fine comic timing as Dolly Tate, the ambitiously destructive assistant to Frank Butler; and Andrew Mc Knight, who showed a nearly flawless voice as Tommy Keeler, the talented half-Indian half-Irish knife-thrower of the Wild West Show.
Because of the bare stage, the production depended on the unity of the ensemble as not only a storytelling team but a set crew. Actors carried set pieces onstage and moved them around in smooth transitions.
“Every member of Banbridge Musical Society on and off stage created beautiful illusions and exhibited unusual talents, such as using projection for different scenes, to perpetuate the magic. The energy was electric, reigniting the Banbridge audience’s passion for theatre and show business with every note, every dance move and every line,” said one group of audience members.
After many months of hard work, late nights and plenty of laughter it was great to Banbridge Musical Society once again own the stage at the Iveagh Movie Studios and deliver a superb production of ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ to it’s well deserved Banbridge community.