Review - Calamity Jane at Leeds Grand Theatre

Pairing Jodie Prenger and Tom Lister as Calamity Jane and Bill Hickok is inspired.

Prenger, with her fine voice, comic acting skills and a snarl that can stop a man at 20 paces, has just the right amount of humour and pathos to carry off the part of the wise-cracking, sharp-shooting Calamity.

While Lister, tall and debonair, has shaken off his soap-acting past admirably and has obviously been hiding his fine voice under a bale of straw.

This impressive adaptation by Nikolai Foster has singing (of course) dancing and a talented cast of musician actors who play everything from the double bass to the spoons while integrating the instruments into the show.

There’s not much by way of scene changes; with dextrous rearrangement of the props, the saloon bar doubles as Calamity’s house, the Deadwood stagecoach and a theatre in Chicago.

The story, for those who don’t know it, has Calamity bringing a beautiful aspiring actress to Deadwood. Katie Brown (a sweet Sophia Ragavelas) turns all the men’s heads, including handsome soldier Danny (Alex Hammond) who Calamity has earmarked for herself.

Things turn ugly as Calamity tries to keep Danny from falling for Katie before realising that, in fact, her heart lies elsewhere; Prenger’s rendition of Secret Love is one of the highlights of the show.

Julie Marshall