Fri 26 Sep 2014
I was very excited to see Calamity Jane The Musical at Edinburgh Playhouse last night! I always loved the Doris Day film as a child and remember most of the songs. And I managed to drag my husband along too, even though he wasn’t very sure about it.
The story is set in a town called Deadwood in the Wild West and is summed up perfectly in the programme:
Calamity Jane can outrun and outshoot any man in Deadwood. Hard, boastful and desperate to impress, she travels to Chicago on the Deadwood Stage to recruit a star, Adelaid Adams. But things don’t go too smoothly for Calamity, as everyone in town favours the new girl and she struggles to keep her jealousy and pride in check. It takes her long standing enemy Wild Bill Hickok to make her see sense, and realise her Secret Love.
The show did not disappoint. It was adapted closely from the film and featured my favourite songs Whip Crack Away, The Windy City and The Black Hills of Dakota. Jodie Prenger (winner of the BBC show I’d Do Anything in 2008) was brilliant as Calamity Jane, and the other singers were fantastic too. My only criticism was some of the American accents were a bit dodgy! As well as great music and a good story, it was funny too. That’s how I knew they had won my husband over, when I heard him laughing along.
One of the really impressive things about the show was there was no traditional orchestra. Instead, all the musicians were on stage as characters, playing their instruments in the background. It didn’t detract from the main story at all and it fitted in really well with the set, which was a Wild West saloon bar.
One thing I discovered last night is that Calamity Jane was a real person. Her life was very different from the musical, but she did live in Deadwood and married Wild Bill Hickok. It was very interesting reading up about her, as her life was even more eventful than the fictional version!
There’s still time to catch Calamity Jane at Edinburgh Playhouse, which is playing until tomorrow night.