Show is no Calamity

Calamity Jane, Palace TheatreManchester

Sunday, 5th April 2015, 9:00 am
Jodie Prenger as Calamity Jane & Tom Lister as Wild  Bill Hickok. Photo credit Manuel Harlan
Jodie Prenger as Calamity Jane & Tom Lister as Wild Bill Hickok. Photo credit Manuel Harlan

In this stage version of Doris Day’s classic film Calamity Jane, Jodie Prenger stars as the sharp-shooting boastful girl who can out-run and outshoot any man in town.

Best known for her part in TV series I’d Do Anything and West End role in Oliver, Prenger wows the audience with rootin’ tootin’ attitude and roguish charm.

The show opens with The Black Hills of Dakota and the audience just can’t help but join in, which perfectly sets the pace for the rest of the show.

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Although the music could be considered dated, this production is a refreshing take on the original film.

A multi-talented cast were full of energy and clearly enjoyed themselves, which reflected back positively in the reactions from the audience.

Jodie Prenger undoubtedly steals the show but Tom Lister comes a close second as Wild Bill Hickock. His solo performance of Higher Than A Hawk was stunning and left everyone awestruck.

Without giving too much away, the production follows Jane’s tall tales and boisterous character while she slowly begins to realise her secret love for Wild Bill, with whom she has a heated love-hate relationship.

In an attempt to keep her word and reputation true, Jane travels to Chicago in an impossible pursuit of recruiting a famous star for Deadwood City’s Theatre.

The story quickly unfolds, showing things don’t always go smoothly for Calamity Jane. The audience follows her struggles with keeping both her jealousy and pride under wraps. With the help of Bill, she is able to see life a little more clearly.

Nikolai Foster’s direction is innovative and impressive.

The fact that the actors could act, sing and play instruments, sometimes all at the same time, made the show that much more spectacular.

If fun lighthearted energy- filled musicals are for you, this show is right up your street. The musical numbers will have you tapping your feet and resisting the urge to get up and dance in true hoe-down form.

Karishma Patel