Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Review: Calamity Jane (UK Tour) at the Milton Keynes Theatre

Calamity Jane (UK Tour)
Milton Keynes Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 25th November 2014

"Yeehaw!" Shockingly I knew very little about Calamity Jane and had absolutely no idea what to expect. Needless to say I soon discovered that Charles K. Freeman, Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster's musical provides just over two hours of joyous fun.

The Western musical follows Calamity Jane as she travels to Chicago to recruit a star, Adelaide Adams, for the Deadwood Stage. Of cource, things don't go as planned. She has plenty of run ins with her long-standing enemy Wild Bill Hickok, but good song, dance or smooch is never too far away!

Actor musician musicals are certainly on the rise. Sometimes they can look a little cheap and cheerful, but the concept really works for Calamity Jane. The best numbers are those which see the cast playing away whilst singing and dancing. They seem to be having a great time; their energy is infectious whilst their talents are hugely impressive. As if being a triple threat wasn't challenging enough, these performers really are exceptionally talented.

Jodie Prenger is magnificent in the title role. She can sing and act, but her talents go further; she has qualities which they can't teach you at drama school - Prenger has the ability to lighten up any stage. The relationship she builds up with an audience is unbreakable and I could feel that the entire audience had fallen in love with her.

From Nancy in Oliver to Dolly in One Man, Two Guvnors, Jodie Prenger has proved just how diverse she is. She excels in whatever she does and is always a dream! The supporting cast are all incredibly strong, with Tom Lister shining as Wild Bill Hickok and Phoebe Street standing out as Katie Brown.

Despite not being familiar with the music I found the score instantly catchy. I love that several people were singing along throughout to the iconic tunes including 'The Black Hills of Dakota', 'The Deadwood Stage (Whip-Crack-Away)', 'Just Blew in from the Windy City' and 'Secret Love'.

Nikolai Foster's production of Calamity Jane burst with irresistible charm. It's impossible not to clap along with the finale and leave with a spring in your step.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Calamity Jane runs at the Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 29th November 2014.
Please visit for information, full tour dates and tickets.

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