WRITTEN by Irving Berlin in 1946, Annie Get Your Gun was an instant Broadway hit.

It is set in the drawly American midwest with a gunslinging leading lady, cowboys and Indians aplenty and a clutch of well-loved musical numbers.

These include There's No Business Like Show Business and Anything You Can Do, so I moseyed on down to The Radlett Centre anticipating an exciting Wild West night out.

Unfortunately, EBLOS Musical Theatre seemed not to have put in enough hours down at the rifle range, as its production was distinctly hit and miss, with rather more emphasis on the miss.

The evening was plagued by sound and feedback problems, which left the audience wincing on more than one occasion as well as being an unhelpful distraction for the soloists.

Along with the hardworking but small chorus, they were all up against it from the start as most lacked the volume and the dramatic impact to be able to take the bull by the horns and bring the piece to life.

Fortunately, Rachel Simpson single-handedly lifted the night, giving a spirited performance as Annie Oakley.

Miss Simpson played this peach of a part with humour, wringing out every drop of fun with her expressive face and larger than life stage presence.

Matt Shaw (Frank Butler) and Peter Perkins (Sitting Bull) were on hand to offer solid support, while Charlie Wakley and his punchy band, complete with a particularly frisky flute, worked wonders with the music.

EBLOS failed to hit the bullseye, but was saved by some sharp shooting individuals who ensured at least some crucial shots were on target.

Michael Moore