Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Saddle up for the gun-toting Little Sure Shot appearing in The MAC until Annie Oakley is run out of town on 10 May

Little Sure Shot is a rags to riches story of gunfire and feminism, based around the real life of Annie Mosey. From the age of five, Annie (played by Verity Kirk) goes hunting in the woods with her father and he teaches her how to hold a gun. After his death she realises that she could “provide the bread and meat to feed” her family, but her mother (Paksie Vernon) won’t allow it.
“Guns are not for girls … it’s shameful Annie.”

After a spell in the poor house learning to sew and be lady like, she skivvies for an abusive family before escaping and finally taking up arms to feed her family by selling game to the local grocer Mr Katzenburger. From there, it’s on to shooting competitions, falling in love, and the unstable world of show business under the stage name of Annie Oakley.
“Falling in love in the Wild West is a lot like falling in the Mississippi River: it’s a lot easier getting in than getting out!”

The action takes place in a simple circular arena surrounded by flag-laden posts from a big top. The dark outside rim of Hayley Grindle’s set allows musical instruments to be hung up and gives space for the cast to rearrange their costumes between characters. Andy Clark, David Leopold and Andrew Whitehead fulfil nine roles between them.

In the last 12 months at least half the plays I’ve seen in Belfast have included a firearm being discharged. Little Sure Shot beats them all in terms of the number of shots fired, but the sound effect is distinctly unalarming, a disappointingly limp low volume pop that emanates from the top left speaker rather than from the area on the stage where the gun was fired.

The five actors sing and strum country and western and assorted Americana throughout the two act show. Guitar, banjo, double bass, fiddle, harmonica and snare drum played live on top of some backing tracks and accompanied by five part singing. I’ve never seen someone skip while holding a guitar before!

The energy builds and wanes throughout the show. After the interval, the cast inject some oomph back into the audience with a routine of corny puns. The humour continues, with hoots of laughter for George the Poodle, and the audience encouraged to cheer along to Annie’s exhibition shooting and show routines. Some enthusiastic souls in the front row even started to heckle the answers to on-stage questions!

Pitched at children from 7 years and up, the kids attending Tuesday night’s performance really seemed to enjoy it. The show doesn’t shy away from the rougher aspects of Annie’s life, but deals with them sensitively. As an adult in the audience, Little Sure Shot was well executed but it didn’t hit my emotional bullseye … but then, I wasn’t the target.

Will I Am’s (predicted) verdict: Bang! Bang! Bang!

Little Sure Shot runs from 7pm-9pm until 10 May in The MAC. Tickets from £10 child/£15 adult.

Photos - Little Sure Shot Photography ®FarrowsCreative

No comments: