adapted by Charles K Freeman from a screenplay by James O’Hanlon lyrics by Paul Francis Webster music by Sammy Fain.
Watermill Theatre Bagnor RG To 6 September 2014.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm except 6 September at 1.30pm and 6.30pm.
Audio-described 30 Aug 2.30pm (+ Touch Tour 1.15pm).
Post-show Discussion 1, 15 Aug.
TICKETS: 01635 46044.
then tour to 20 June 2015.
Runs 2hr 30min One interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 21 July.
Vivacious revival in the Black Hills of Dakota.
On tour this production will dance and sing its way through some of Britain’s largest theatres. So, unsurprisingly, like June, it busts out all over the Watermill, one of England’s smallest.
Which makes for a fine intimacy as actors swagger and holler down aisles, or occupy part of an aisle to add percussive emphasis in a suitably raucous rendering of a story based on a woman given legendary status within the Wild West Myth.
Anything men could do Jane could do better. Fight-off injuns, deliver mail through bandit territory – for nerve and determination, Jane was your man. The historical Jane is held hostage by American musical tradition which, in 1953, made her that consoling figure for men – the resourceful, courageous woman who really just wants a man of her own.
Trouble is, both the men she likes, Wild Bill Hickok and an army Lieutenant, are sweet upon Katie Brown, new in town and pretending to be her ex-boss, star singer Adelaid Adams – getting the show on the road and making sure all’s right on the night is a main story thrust after Deadwood theatre-owner Henry Miller finds the singer he’d booked is the wrong sex.
Sexual confusion might rule, though it’s hard to believe anyone would mistake Jodie Prenger’s Jane for a man, with her makeup, luxuriant blonde hair curling round a cap and the masculinity of a pantomime principal boy. And looks must be everything if both women swoon over Alex Hammond’s elegantly inert lieutenant.
Fortunately, Tom Lister, tower of strength and sense rather than wildness, brings dry wit to Hickok while Phoebe Street’s Katie soon finds her performer’s feet.
Calamity opens with one of its best numbers, but the impact of ‘The Deadwood Stage’ is kept till reprises, especially as the stagecoach is assembled on stage, formed partly of the piano playing the tune.
Strong musical and dance contributions, especially from Rob Delaunay, and contrasting humour from Paul Kissaun’s phlegmatic Rattlesnake, help this triumph of director Nikolai Foster and choreographer Nick Winston’s ensemble, who act, dance and sing, often simultaneously, with energy and precision in familiar Watermill fashion.
Doc: John Bonner.
Francis Fryer: Rob Delaney.
Henry Miller: Anthony Dunn.
Danny Gilmartin: Alex Hammond.
Buck: Matthew James Hinchliffe.
Rattlesnake: Paul Kissaun.
Wild Bill Hickok: Tom Lister.
Joe: Martin McCarthy.
Hank: Jamie Noar.
Calamity Jane: Jodie Prenger.
Susan: Sioned Saunders.
Katie Brown: Phoebe Street.
Adelaid Adams: Christina Tedders.
Director: Nikolai Foster.
Designer: Matthew Wright.
Lighting: Richard G Jones.
Sound: Sebastian Frost.
Orchestrator/Musical Supervisor: Catherine Jayes.
Musical director: Rob Delaney.
Choreographer: Nick Winston.
Dialect coach: Rick Lipton.
Assistant musical director: Jeroma van den Berghe.
Western Skills Instructor: Alex Laredo.
Dance Captain: Martin McCarthy.