WELL, if this ain’t one hell of a sure-fire hit then I’ll be doggone.

Sorry about the frontier gibberish, but the West – Malvern territory, that is - was well and truly won this week thanks to a classic musical that hits the target as effortlessly as Annie Oakley downs those clay pigeons with her trusty Winchester rifle.

And it’s not just the flying bullets, either. Irving Berlin’s ragtime-flavoured numbers propel the proceedings along at a whip-cracking pace as the gal with the golden gun shoots her way to fame and immortality as the star of Buffalo Bill’s travelling show.

There’s No Business Like Show Business, The Girl That I Marry, An Old Fashioned Wedding… this is the perfect soundtrack as Annie sets her sights on the equally rootin’ tootin’ Frank Butler, who’s not a little put out by the fact that he’s regularly shot out of the water by this minx of a missy from the backwoods who can pot a partridge with a single cartridge.

Emma Williams steals the show as Miss Oakley, no contest whatsoever. She injects an irresistible combination of humour and pathos into her flawless performance, has the voice of an angel, and in another age would have been the equivalent of a music hall star such as Worcester’s very own Vesta Tilley.

Meanwhile, former Neighbours eye candy Jason Donovan sounds more Southern gentleman than cowpoke-made-good, his voice veering from lonesome coyote to Lee Marvin with tonsillitis in the time it takes to slam another slug into the breech.

Norman Pace – late of the 1980s comedy duo – strides the stage like a bull bison in buckskin, his fuller figure perfectly capturing the persona of Buffalo Bill, the man who almost single-handedly wiped out an entire species of ruminant.

Annie Get Your Gun is a fabulous, rip-roaring rampage of old-style entertainment. Indeed, at times, it felt as if you were in a Dodge City saloon with two fingers of red eye rather than the good old Festival Theatre looking forward to a polite glass of wine in the interval.

The show runs until Saturday (August 2). My advice is to saddle-up, hit that trail to Malvern… and see one of the greatest shows this side of the Rockies.