14-18 October 2014
Reviewed by Lee-Anne McCarthy
with Caitlin age 10
As a child I was completely immersed in the classic musicals like Calamity Jane and I remember vividly my grandmother singing the songs along with Doris Day as we watched the great movie. When I was asked to review this newest production I was very excited and found myself warming up all the tunes as I went about my usual day to day much to my 10 year olds dismay.
Calamity Jane has its foundation in a real life figure. It’s a story of unrequited love and true love. It tells of the value of determination and friendship. It follows the life of Calamity Jane a true tom boy. It tells of her love for Danny Gilmartin and her lifelong friendship with Wild Bill Hickok. However the path of true love never runs smoothly especially for Calamity Jane as she brings to Deadwood a most beautiful actress Katie Brown. Brown turns the heads all the eligible bachelors including Calamity’s beloved Gilmartin and Hickok. But love is found for everyone as they discover true love exists under their noses in the people they least expect.
Jodie Prenger was cast as the clumsy not so lady like Calamity Jane. She was incredible. Every second she was on stage she lit it up. The way she created this loveable sometimes laughable character was inspired. I found myself laughing out loud at some of her well timed lines. Much to my 10 year olds dismay Prenger’s voice was one that positively encouraged me to sing along. I found that as she sung ‘secret love’ the entire area where I sat was also singing along. Although this speaks of the fantastic score it also shows how Prenger made the entire audience feel a real part of the show. As I scanned the production programme prior to the start I immediately recognised Tom Lister or how I know him Karl King of Emmerdale. Now I always knew Lister could act but who knew that he had such a beautiful, smooth and generally mesmerising voice. Within the production Lister plays Wild Bill Hickok desperate suitor of the newcomer to the town Katie Brown but unbeknownst to him the true love of another a lot closer to home. Lister made Hickok everything I expected him to be debonair, brooding and charming. All the men of the theatre wanted to be him and all the lovely ladies, well all but Brown, wanted to be with him. This production engaged a cast of actor/musicians. I’ve never experienced a production like it and it simply added to the feeling of the Wild West. Throughout the show the multi talents of the cast was captivating and made me most envious. The entire cast were a well-oiled machine that really did the story of Calamity Jane justice.
Calamity Jane is a heart-warming story that would appeal to even the most unromantic of people. This production really does honour the story of Calamity and the cast have clearly worked tirelessly to make it every bit as wonderful as that movie I first watched with my grandparents.
A fantastic show.
Tickets cost from £12 to £37 (plus £2.95 transaction fee).
Calamity Jane is at the New Theatre, Cardiff until 18 October 2014. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 029 2087 8889.
New Theatre, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3LN | 029 2087 8889