THE Marsden Amateurs have made a triumph out of Calamity …
This is a pacy, sure-footed account of a musical that might take rather a corny view of the Wild West, but it is tuneful, funny and touching.
Neil Broadbent’s production strikes most of the right notes, and the director himself has charismatic stage presence, in the central role of Wild Bill Hickock.Š
Dawn Leigh (also the choreographer) is in the title role, which she plays with rumbustuous relish and great accomplishment. In her vocal numbers she can summon up that rasp which is so characteristic of the Broadway style.
Calamity Jane, of course, was the female army scout who – legend has it – outdid the menfolk in various areas of Wild West machismo, such as defending stagecoaches against murderous Injuns.
The musical, derived from the 1953 Doris Day movie, reasserts traditional gender roles in a very 1950s way, by having Calamity donning a frock and unlocking her passion for Wild Bill. Songs in the show include The Deadwood Stage and Secret Love, which has become a standard.
There are good acting and vocal performances throughout the Marsden production. Robert Pogson, as the saloon owner, makes a strong impact. Rubber limbed Chris Comber does a neat song and dance turn as an actor from out East and Holly Comber is a winsome Katie, who is transformed from meek lady’s maid to a saloon bar torch singer.
One point worth noting is the consistency of the American accents – barely a hint of Transatlantic Yorkshire anywhere.
Calamity Jane continues until Saturday.