FUNNYMAN Norman Pace features in the cast of classic musical Annie Get Your Gun which comes to the Liverpool Empire as part of a national tour next month.

The actor and writer - better known as half of the comedy duo Hale & Pace - plays Wild West showman Buffalo Bill in the production, which will be staged at the city centre venue from August 5-9.

Also in the cast are former Neighbours star Jason Donovan as Frank Butler and Emma Williams as Annie Oakley.

The Tony award-winning show is based on the true story of Annie, who was an incredible sharpshooter, and her competitive romance with rival marksman Frank.

Looking forward to bringing the show to Liverpool, Norman told the Globe: "I've performed at the Liverpool Empire before, as part of Hale & Pace, but it's the first time I've done this show. 

"The show's tour has gone very well so far and I'm very proud to be part of the cast."

The entertainer, who gave up a teaching career for showbusiness, joked: "Admittedly, I do have to dance a bit during the show, but I'd call it moving with a direction, because I'm no dancer."

He added: "My biggest contribution to the entire show is that I’ve managed to grow my own facial hair for the part. I’ve got one of those moustaches that you have to twiddle at the end and a long thin beard that is somewhere down to my knees."

Norman and comedy partner Gareth Hale were one of the country's most successful comedy teams in the 1980s and '90s.

Their TV credits include, 10 years of sketch comedy shows for ITV, which won the Golden Rose of Montreux and Press Award, and Oddbods, a series of silent comedy films for BBC TV.

With Gareth, Norman also participated in the critically acclaimed documentary series Jobs For The Boys also for BBC TV where they were taught to play Polo to a competitive standard, wrote a song for the Eurovision song contest and learned to commentate on BBC One's Grandstand.

Asked if he would consider saddling up again, Norman said: "There's a funny story. After I'd done the show I went on holiday. A friend of mine asked me to take part in a polo match.

"I agreed to do it, but fell off the horse and injured my pelvis in two places. I'm fine now, but it'll probably be a while before I even consider getting on a horse again."

Over the last few years Norman has become an accomplished actor and singer in his own right, with guest lead roles in BBC drama Casualty and ITV’S The Last Detective.

He made his West End debut in Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre, London, in 1999, playing the role of Amos Hart.

In 2009 Norman returned to Australia with Gareth Hale for their eighth national tour. He then returned to the UK stage playing 15 different roles in the much acclaimed number one tour of Graham Greene’s Our Man In Havana.

In 2011, Norman and Gareth appeared in their first stage play together, as warring scriptwriters in Murder By Misadventure.

Looking back on his career, Norman said: "When Gareth and I were teachers we did comedy at night and decided it would be a great thing to make people laugh and get paid.

"Luckily for us, it was a gamble that paid off and I've had a great 30 years with Gareth and looking back over our work in that time I wouldn't change a thing.

"We're now both in our 60s and are accepted as actors, too, which is great."

Tickets for Annie Get Your Gun are from the Empire box office on 0844 871 3017.