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Hungerford Theatre Company - Annie Get Your Gun

16th to 19th February 2005.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Rootin' tootin' cowboys

The Community of Hungerford Theatre Company: Annie Get Your Gun, at John O'Gaunt School, Hungerford, from Wednesday, February 16 to Saturday, February 19

These annual productions are a true community affair, for anyone who wants to take part is welcomed by director David Clayton and many more people than the actors give up their time to become involved.

Annie Get Your Gun is a perennial Irving Berlin favourite, and, led by the strong musical voice of Paul Hyde as Frank Butler and Sarah Fradgley, throwing herself energetically into the mammoth role of country hick Annie who learns the hard way that You Can't Get A Man With A Gun, the company put on a colourful performance accompanied by accurate, sympathetic music from the Cowhand Band, conducted by Simon Coles.

Sarah's pleasant soft voice was at its best in I Got Lost In His Arms but the rumbustious Doin' What Comes Naturally came over well, with superb back up from her talented siblings, especially George Olney as Little Jake. Chris Everard's (Tommy) singing was a joy and Bryony Barnes-Tulk, as his wife Winnie, was a graceful dancer though her singing was hampered by illness.

Dave Whiddett made a good job of Charlie Davenport, vocally and with his acting ability, while vicar Andrew Sawyer produced a highly educated Chief Sitting Bull, particularly enjoyable when a table he and Charlie were sitting at collapsed and he was heard to mutter "stupid paleface!"

The masses of junior chorus were bright, breezy, clearly enjoying themselves and it is to be hoped their enthusiasm will remain for many years. The older chorus deserve gold stars for retaining interest in the principals' actions and remaining involved at all times, while the group of young girls looked wonderful and moved well though occasionally lacked confidence when it came to singing.

It was the first night and, hopefully, entrances speeded up through the week, for this added time to what is already a long show. It also has to be said that much of the movement was far short of being slick and another month of rehearsing might have given that final edge to the production and given the performers extra confidence and sparkle.

Nevertheless how good it is that the tradition of entertainment, always strong in Hungerford since the time of Ivy Wells, continues.