Review: Woodseats Musical Theatre Company shines in Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane, presented by Woodseats Musical Theatre Company
Calamity Jane, presented by Woodseats Musical Theatre Company

Few sights can be more heartening for a cast than to see a packed audience on the opening night of their show.

There was barely an empty seat in the house last night (Wednesday, July 8) as Woodseats Musical Theatre Company brought the Deadwood stage to the Dronfield stage.

Calamity Jane was firing on all four cylinders in a production that was as lively as a Wild West night in the Golden Garter saloon bar.

Dancing girls kicking up their heels in the can-can, elegantly costumed guests carrying lamps on their way to a dance and beautifully sung numbers such as Secret Love and Higher Than A Hawk made this entertaining show a treat for the eyes and ears.

Jennifer Horsfied was bang on target as the hotshot tomboy Calamity Jane whose tall tales and fiery temper landed her in plenty of scrapes. She made the character so believable with her sparky, feisty approach, dirt-streaked cheeks and muddy dress, gunshots to silence a crowd or holding court with her stories and singing which she did while sitting on the bar counter or standing on top of a table.

In the very early stages of the show, Jennifer galloped through her lines which made it hard to pick up every word of Calamity’s stories but she soon found her stride and put in a great performance.

Leading man Richard Carlin made for a dream partnership with Jennifer, slipping comfortably into the big boots of Wild Bill Hickcock with wonderful singing and acting.

Company newcomer Matthew Carroll shone as a handsome, golden-voiced Lieut Danny Gilmartin, his singing blending well with that of Becki Stowe who played Katie Brown.

Adam Walker raised plenty of laughs as the entertainer who dressed up as a woman, lost his wig mid-performance but won the heart of the bar owner’s niece, played by Helen Critchley.

Diva-like atttitude and star quality were brought to bear in Becky Southwell’s portrayal of celebrity entertainer Adelaide Adams.

Calamity Jane continues its run at Dronfield Civic Hall until Saturday, July 11,

The production is a big feather in the cap of director Mary Newey, musical director Matthew Moore who conducts a six-piece ensemble, choreographer Martha Lamb and assistant director Daniel Storey.