It's official: you can't leave a performance of Calamity Jane and not have 'whip-crack away, whip-crack away, whip-crack awaaaaaay' on a loop in your head.

Still bringing the house down at the ripe old age of 62, Calamity Jane has one of the catchiest scores in musical history (it was nominated for an Oscar, after all).

And the small but ridiculously talented cast on stage at Leeds Grand Theatre brought it to life with relish last night in a performance that won a well-deserved standing ovation.

Taking on a role that Doris Day made iconic is no mean feat, but Jodie Prenger lit up the stage as swaggering, no-nonsense Calamity, with a fantastic accent.

As the winner of the 2008 musical reality show I'd Do Anything, it's common knowledge she has a beautiful voice, which soared to the rafters during Secret Love.

Her comic stylings were a delight from start to finish, bringing out the vulnerability beneath Calam's tough exterior.

Jodie Prenger as Calamity Jane & Tom Lister as Wild Bill Hickock.
Jodie Prenger as Calamity Jane & Tom Lister as Wild Bill Hickock.

The surprising voice of the night belonged to Tom Lister — Emmerdale farm was suddenly worlds away when he gave a mesmerising performance of My Heart is Higher Than A Hawk (Deeper Than A Well), and he seemed infinitely comfortable treading the boards.

While Prenger and Lister rightly stole the show, the actor-musicians that made up the on-stage band were also superb. Seamlessly switching from dancing and singing to playing live, they made multitasking look effortless.

Seeing the band on stage instead of hidden in the pit was also a pleasant change.

But I wasn't blown away by the set. While the saloon bar was aesthetically pleasing, it was also the only scene in the show — with little changed to represent the Chicago theatre or Calamity's Cabin (which sadly made A Woman's Touch less special).

It felt claustrophobic at times — and one or two set changes for important scenes might have helped. Singing about the beauty of the Black Hills of Dakota is all well and good, but without a backdrop of the wild plains and mountains it doesn't pack the same punch.

That said, the show was quite inventive in creating stage coaches and trains from simple props and sound effects.

Jodie Prenger as Calamity Jane & Phoebe Street as Katie Brown.
Jodie Prenger as Calamity Jane & Phoebe Street as Katie Brown.

And it certainly didn't stop the audience from singing and foot-stomping along, with rapturous applause and cheers at the end for the shoe's hoedown curtain call.

Loved by generations of fans, Calamity Jane is sing-along, laugh-along fun from start to finish.

And I still can't get the music out of my head.