CALAMITY JANE - NOVEMBER 2016
Director - Liz Petley-Jones
Musical Director - John Sparrow
Choreographer - Christina Finn
By Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster
Calamity Jane - Emma E.J. Smith
Wild Bill Hickock - Iain Steel
Katie Brown - Kimberley James
Danny Gilmartin - Adrian Hickford
Henry Miller - Andrew Hodgson
Susan - Lucy Hutchings
Francis Fryer - Simon Meanwell-Ralph
Adelaide Adams - Annie Tatnall
Joe - Alan Morgan
Doc - Colin Paice
Rattlesnake - Hamish McDonald
Hank - Stephen Gleed
Pete - James Butler
Colonel - Stephen Gleed
Anne Croudass, Suzanne Hall, Katie Hickson, Marina Humphrey, Bob Jones, Eddie Maggs, Alan Matheson, Anne McDonald, Nicky Moore, Lorraine Morgan, Jo Stevens, Amy Stewart, Juliet Surridge, Charlotte Upfold, Lucy Whiteman, Izzy Wylde
The Olive Branch counselling service
The Deadwood Stage came rolling into Winchester in style when Winchester Musicals and Opera Society presented Calamity Jane.
Director, Liz Petley-Jones, used the large chorus with great imagination adding lots of individual characterisations. Most of the action took place in the Golden Garter Saloon run by Henry Miller (Andrew Hodgson), where grizzled prospectors, gamblers, dancing girls and whores gather. The versatile set, which she also designed, quickly became the venue for other scenes helping the pace of the production. Effective lighting contrasted the Black Hills of Dakota with the gaudy saloon.
Musical Director, John Sparrow, ensured the whole cast numbers were put over with enthusiasm. He also led the orchestra which played behind the set. This helped sound levels, although there were times when music overwhelmed dialogue. Christina Finn, the choreographer gave those who can really dance lots of opportunities - especially in the energetic Can Can. Other numbers called for less terpsichorean expertise but had vigour and liveliness which added to the fun.
The depth of talent in WMOS was shown in the featured roles: Annie Tatnall as Adelaide Adams and Lucy Hutchings as Susan were of particular note, but it was Simon Meanwell-Ralph as Francis Fryer, who is hired in the belief that he is an actress, who had the capacity audience roaring with laughter, when he is coerced to appear in drag and fearsome high heels.
This musical hangs on Calamity and Emma Jane Smith led with zest bringing humour and energy to her acting and fine singing. She portrayed many facets of this frontierswoman who is as tough as any man but is also capable of feeling love and jealousy. Calam boasts that she will bring a famous actress to Deadwood and is delighted when the lady in the star's dressing room agrees to come but this is Katie Brown, a maid. Calam's kind heart is shown when she stands up for the nervous Katie to be given a chance. Of course, sweet Katie (Kimberley James), is a lovely singer and dancer. All the men fall for her, including Calam's pal Bill Hickok (Iain Steel) and her great love Danny Gilmartin, a thoughtful performance by Adrian Hickford. Bill and Danny's rivalry made for a sharp comic episode. Iain Steel played Bill as a laconic dude gambler who watched events with wry amusement. He was an ideal foil to Calam especially in their sparky duet I Can do Without You.
When Calam sees Danny kissing Katie she goes straight for her gun. It takes Bill to make her see sense. His serenade Higher than a Hawk, first to Katie and then, much to his surprise, to Calam was a musical highlight. Bill joined Calam in a joyous Secret Love when they realise that best buddies can also be sweethearts.
It is not easy to re-create a well loved film onstage but Liz Petley-Jones and WMOS have succeeded splendidly.