Before Grease, Dirty Dancing and Pretty Woman became the chick flicks of my ears there were the chick flicks from the golden age of film. The films that your grandma would watch and swoon over the magic, the romance and probably the leading man. Calamity Jane is up there with Annie Get Your Gun and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers which feel like they belong to a film institution.
Calamity Jane (Jodie Prenger) is the tomboy of Deadwood. Being the odd woman out she’s desperate to impress and measure up to the men in the town. Her boastful attitude that she can out run and out shoot the men in Deadwood alongside her tall tales earn her a reputation for being “careless with the truth”. When the owner of the local theater hires a world renowned and famous actress (who turns out to be a man), Calamity travels to Chicago to try and bring back the Wild West’s answer to Beyonce, Adelaid Adams (Christina Tedders). As with most musicals (and life in general) things don’t run too smoothly for poor Calamity by name, Calamity by nature Jane. She accidentally brings back Adelaid’s maid, Katie Brown (Phoebe Street). Katie Brown dreams of being a big star and stepping out from Adelaide’s shadow, so instead of correcting Calamity jumps at the chance to travel back to the small town of Deadwood and it’s town of adoring men, including Calamity’s long standing crush Lieutenant Danny Gilmartin (Alex Hammond). Calamity tries to keep the green eyed monster in check but seeing the object of her affections fall in love with Katie isn’t easy. When Calamity’s pride is at stake, she turns to her long standing (and very attractive) enemy Wild Bill Hickok (Tom Lister) for a shoulder to cry on and discovers that maybe what she’s been looking for has been in front of her all along.
…. and they all lived Happily Ever After.
There is the standard makeover/transformation which seems obligatory in love stories young and old where Calamity sheds the trousers and replaces them with a ladylike dress to be more like Katie Brown and screen siren Adelaide Adams, perhaps in an attempt to win the affections of Danny Gilmartin. For such a strong character as Annie it can sometimes annoy me that it ends up with a guy gets the girl situation, but Calamity Jane can be forgiven because it conjures up the image of my nan dapping at her teary cheeks with a hanky when Bill and Jane FINALLY kiss.
Calamity Jane is a thigh slapping and heel shufflingly uptempo adaptation of the film which features an Oscar nominated score (including the famous “Black Hills of Dakota” and “Secret Love”) and will deliver an evening of rootin’ tootin entertainment for people of all ages, whether you’ve seen the original or not.
The show runs at the Regent Theatre in Stoke until the 14th March and tickets are available to buy online or at the box office.