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Review of Calamity Jane - Darlington Civic Theatre

Calamity Jane - Jodie Prenger as Calamity Jane & Tom Lister as Wild Bill Hickok. Photo credit Manuel Harlan

IT IS incredibly difficult not to think about Doris Day as soon as you mention Calamity Jane, but as soon as the curtain rises on this Watermill Theatre Production, it is clear that this show will be very different from the film and any stage version you have seen before.

The superbly talented ensemble cast of 15 not only act, dance and sing to perfection, but also play the instruments as well, giving it a very realistic feel with many authentic instruments of the Wild West. Matthew Wright’s set is incredibly versatile and ingenious use is made with the props, especially to create the stage coach, ensuring that the action flows smoothly. Richard Jones’ lighting is atmospheric and Nick Winston’s choreography is delightful.

Jodie Prenger is perfect as the masculine Calamity Jane and is an excellent comic actress. Tom Lister, playing Wild Bill Hickok, shows just how talented he is, with one of the highlights of the show being his rendition of ‘My Love is Higher Than a Hawk’ where he accompanies himself on guitar. Of course most of the audience are just waiting for ‘Secret Love’ and they were certainly not disappointed.


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