The good old fashioned musical is having a comeback! Top Hat and Oklahoma have successfully toured the regional theatres, and London isn’t immune either this summer with High Society at the Old Vic and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
Last November I thoroughly enjoyed the touring production of another classic gem ‘Calamity Jane’ at the Hawth in Crawley (full review here) starring Jodie Prenger (interview here) and Tom Lister and was so enamoured by it I was delighted to catch up with it again last night at the penultimate stop on it’s 14th month tour at the Assembly Halls in Tunbridge Wells.
I was so glad I did! Calamity Jane was a top notch classic musical then, but now has evolved and improved even more over the last few months, the accents are more authentic, the cast seem comfortable in their roles, a few more comic touches have been added.
Nikolai Foster’s slick direction, Matthew Wright’s rustic and creative set design which includes the ingenious creation of the Deadwood Stage and Nick Winston’s lively choreography combined sets the backdrop to showcase the cast’s talents.
Jodie Prenger has definitely made the role of Calamity Jane her own during the tour (apologies to Doris Day fans) her exhilarating rendition of ‘Secret Love’ blew me away and Tom Lister’s gentle version of ‘Higher than a Hawk’ would turn any girl’s head. The addition of Sophia Ragavelas (Cats, Elegies) in the role of Katie Brown was a treat and the ensemble that make up the residents of the town of Deadwood were once again fantastic each not only acting, singing and dancing but also providing all the music by playing a variety of instruments each with great gusto sending everyone home tapping their heels and swinging their hips.
Calamity Jane is a top rate production and plays at the Assembly Halls Theatre all this week including three matinees and ends it’s tour next week at the Richmond Theatre. Don your cowboy hats, hitch your wagon and ride to catch a performance of this whip-cracking, highly entertaining show suitable for the whole family.
Note: Jodie Prenger will play Miss Hannigan in Annie at the New Theatre Oxford this Christmas before embarking on a Nationwide tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tell me on a Sunday.