Theatre Review – Calamity Jane

The Kings Theatre welcomed Charles K. Freedman’s truly brilliant adaptation of Calamity Jane, presented by the Watermill Theatre.

You will probably recognise faces of Calamity and Wild Bill if you watched BBC1’s I’d Do Anything and ITV’s Emmerdale. The perfectly selected cast will hospitably take you to 1970’s Deadwood, where once upon a time lived red-hair Calamity.

Calamity is a dork – looking girl, who, wishing to impress her fellows, ventures to Chicago in order to bring a famous diva to perform in her town. However, her plan does not go very smoothly as the young beauty changes the form of an ossified love triangle…

The sparkling performance of the actors, magnificent costumes, catchy tunes, beautiful choreography and evident mastery of Nikolai Foster will make this musical win your heart. The performance of Katie Brown’s “A Woman’s Touch” by Phoebe Street (Les Miserables) is particularly worth noting, as in my opinion (have no intention to offend the admirers of  Allyn Ann McLerie) it looked even more gracious and spectacular than its film version. A nice bonus of the musical is that the actors also play different musical instruments.

Perhaps the charm and liveliness of the show, as well as of the film also accounts for the fact that the legendary Calamity Jane is not a fiction but a real woman with strong and kind-hearted personality, who discovered her secret love more than a century ago in Deadwood.

It was powerful and touching when the audience, infected with the magical atmosphere and spirit of the characters replicated in unison Black Hills of Dakota. I did not notice when 135 minutes of the performance (excluding 20 min interval) had passed. At one point I found myself broken into a silly smile while listening Tom Lister’s Higher Than a Hawk.

Overall I definitely recommend you to watch this delightful musical, because each actor’s performance is a true joy. And it if you missed it in Portsmouth, it is definitely worth going if you find them during their spring and summer tour in one of the cities.

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