Jodie shows she was born to play Calamity in rousing production

Jodie Prenger as Calamity Jane
Jodie Prenger as Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne

What better way to spend a cold February night than by watching a rip-roaring feelgood musical and that is exactly what I did at Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre this week.

Calamity Jane is a fast-moving show packed with familiar songs – ‘Secret Love’, ‘The Deadwood Stage’ and ‘Black Hills of Dakota’, which they reprise at the curtain call so you are guaranteed to leave the theatre humming it.

Winner of the TV show to find Nancy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of Oliver, Jodie Prenger was born to play Calamity.

She has the brash over-the-top mannerisms of the unfeminine woman dressed in buck skin who always has to be right in the first act before she softens and shows her feminine side in Act Two.

In complete contrast to his role as Carl in Emmerdale, Tom Lister makes an excellent Wild Bill Hickok and has a great singing voice and Phoebe Street is very good as Katie Brown, the actress Calamity brings back to Deadwood thinking she is the famous Adelaid Adams. She is actually maid to the actress who is desperate to sing and the way she starts off as a shy frightened girl and blossoms into a confident performer is well done.

All the cast are extremely talented as they all play various musical instruments as well as acting, singing and dancing. Choreographer Nick Winston has done a good job and the hoe down is a joy to watch.

Judging by the rousing cheers at the end, richly deserved, the audience enjoyed the show as much as I did.