Calamity Jane

Date 14th March 2013
Society Blyth Music and Theatre Company Ltd
Venue Phoenix Theatre, Blyth
Type of Production Musical
Director Jackie Grey
Musical Director Bob Crabtree
Choreographer Jackie Grey


Author: Jim Graham

This was another entertaining show from this versatile society which suffered the loss of a principal with only three weeks to go, and a last minute lack of an expert sound technician.  Fortunately, these difficulties were overcome.  Despite these problems, a full house welcomed the overture by joining in with the well-known numbers.  At this point I found the orchestra – this time in their traditional spot in the pit – a little too loud, but it was fine as the show progressed.  The vocal work of the society under the direction of Bob Crabtree was excellent, and obviously had been well rehearsed.  Alison Charlton (Calamity Jane) was superb in her part, and her singing of “The Deadwood Stage” along with chorus was good.  Expectations about the arrival of the female entertainer were high until the arrival of Andrew Fearon, as Francis Fryer.  Andrew acted and danced very confidently, making a superb Fryer – all within three weeks.  Michael Douglas (Wild Bill Hickock) and Drew Herron (Danny Gilmartin) were very good.  Marie Swan played the part of Katie Brown sweetly and confidently, and was a perfect foil to Calamity.

Nice cameo parts were played by Shirley Haskett (Adelaide Adams), Shaunagh Kelly (Susan) and Bob Douglas (Henry Miller).  They helped keep the story-line and comedy going.  Mention must be made of both the male and female chorus with their strong singing of “The Deadwood Stage” “Windy City” and “The Black Hills of Dakota”.  I was pleasantly surprised to note that members of the society’s Youth Academy were in this production.  It is good to see youth being involved, for they are the future backbone of amateur theatre

The backcloth and props, designed by society member Trevor Bell, were basic, but complemented the scenes well.  Costumes were all appropriate to the era, with the females all looking very colourful.  All in all, a very enjoyable show enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience.