Tuneful musical hits the target

Calamity Jane''Photo by Manuel Harlan
Calamity Jane''Photo by Manuel Harlan

Have you got your ticket for the Deadwood Stage and a trip back to the Wild West?

If not, you still have a few more days to catch Calamity Jane, which is on at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal until Saturday evening, writes Tony Spittles.

This tuneful musical - based on the real life exploits of American frontierswoman Martha Cannary, and immortalised in the 1953 Doris Day/Howard Keel movie - is now given a fresh lease of life with Jodie Prenger (Oliver! and Spamalot) in the title role as the gal who can outshoot and outrun any man in the backwoods town of Deadwood in South Dakota.

Such physical attributes will probably be needed by her and the rest of the energetic cast as this must-see production reaches Nottingham in the fifth week of a 36-venue tour, which is now criss-crossing the UK before journey’s end and a well-earned rest when they head into Tunbridge Wells next August.

Before then, thousands of music lovers around the country will have been regaled with a rootin-tootin’ songfest that spans such classics as The Deadwood Stage (Whip Crack Away) to the chart-topping Secret Love.

Jodie Prenger brings a wealth of musical theatre to the title role as the well-meaning stagecoach guard who, when she’s not travelling, seems dogged by mishaps and mistakes.

So, when hard-drinking patrons of the town’s Garter Saloon want to see the top singer of the day, Adelaide Adams (Christina Tedders), appearing on stage in Deadwood, Calamity volunteers and heads off to Chicago to entice the star back with her.

However, in true Calamity fashion, she returns with the star’s maid, Katie Brown (Phoebe Street), and so introduces more chaos and confusion into the plot which has plenty of romantic twists and turns with Calamity’s on-off squeeze, gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok (Tom Lister) and Army officer Danny Gilmartin (Alex Hammond) both out to impress Katie.

Matthew Wright’s inventive set makes good use of the 15-strong cast who all show they are adept at acting, singing, dancing and playing a variety of musical instruments on such timeless favourites as It’s Harry I’m Planning to Marry, Just Blew in from the Windy City as Calamity heads back from Chicago with Katie, and when everyone’s back on home ground The Black Hills of Dakota.

Further details of show times and tickets, £18 to £37.50, can be obtained from the Theatre Royal box office on 0115-989 5555 or online at www.trch.co.uk

Pictured is Jodie Prenger in Calamity Jane (Photo by Manuel Harlan)