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Hollywood Reporter: Calamity Jane - 7th July 2003

When Doris Day blew in from the Windy City as the buckskinned tomboy in the movie "Calamity Jane," she was ornery but toothsome, and it didn't take much for handsome Howard Keel to figure out that under all that trail dust and chapped leather was a darned tootin', fine-lookin' gal. 

But that was 1953, and times have changed. Or at least they have everywhere but on the stage of the Shaftesbury Theater, where the denizens of Deadwood City sing about the black hills of Dakota, ogle showgirls at the local saloon and listen to Calamity Jane's tall tales of fighting Injuns, shooting gunfighters and riding the Pony Express. 

"Calamity Jane" has songs by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster. At their high end, Fain and Webster could turn out such Oscar-winning numbers as "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing," from the 1955 film of the same name, and "Secret Love," from "Calamity Jane." "Calamity Jane" also boasts lively show pieces in "The Deadwood Stage (Whip Crack Away)," "Windy City" and a lyrical ballad, "Black Hills of Dakota." After that, it all gets a bit grim: With 11 other songs in the show, it's no wonder the movie is best recalled for Day's zestful performance and lovely singing. 

In this stage version, most of the weight falls on Toyah Willcox, a former U.K. pop and soap star. It's a testament to her sheer determination to ingratiate that she just about carries it off. Employing an accent that combines corn pone with grits and bits of Strother Martin, Willcox bounces onstage and, leaving no surface untouched whether vertical or horizontal, keeps bouncing until the final curtain. 

Ed Curtis' lighthearted and engaging production gives Willcox plenty to bounce off, including two leading men: Michael Cormick, a laconic, slow-moving Wild Bill, and Garry Kilby, as a handsome cavalry officer. Cormick wins the day and singing honors with a fine tenor voice deep enough to suggest echoes of Keel's rich baritone. 

Kellie Ryan is appealing as Kate Brown, the maid Jane brings back from Chicago to perform in Deadwood, thinking she is a top showgirl. Kate promptly falls for Jane's beloved. This secret love doesn't stay secret very long, however, as Wild Bill plays his hand. It's all very predictable, but this really never matters. Thanks to a cast of enthusiastic pros and the tireless Willcox, what should seem tired and dated ends up simply old-fashioned and charming. 

By Ray Bennett

Curtain Up: Calamity Jane - 5th July 2003

Toyah Willcox brings this touring, stage adaptation of the 1953 Doris Day film Calamity Jane to London's Shaftesbury Theatre for a three month run. Set in the Wild West of Oklahoma and Annie Get Your Gun!, Calamity Jane is very loosely based on the real life story of Martha Jane Canary known for her daring acts of heroism and for sporting male attire. Some years back on Broadway, Kathleen Chalfant recreated the real Calamity Jane in True History and Real Adventures.

While the interpretation of the Wild West is firmly ensconced in the 1950s, sexism and anti-Native American attitudes prevailing, the tunes are simply wonderful. "Secret Love" won an Oscar for best original film song, but songs such as "The Black Hills of Dakota", "Windy City" and "The Deadwood Stage" have also become classics. 

The story tells of an Indian Scout, Calamity Jane (Toyah Willcox), a gun toting, hard riding woman, heroine of several bold exploits and spinner of tall tales. She promises to bring a showgirl from Chicago to the town of Deadwood, but instead of the famous singing star Adelaid (Emma Dodd), she fetches her understudy, Katie Brown (Kellie Ryan). Katie causes a lot of excitement in Deadwood and threatens to steal
both of Calamity's beaux, Wild Bill Hickok (Michael Cormick) and Lt Danny Gilmartin (Gary Kilby). 

The characters of the town of Deadwood hang around for atmosphere, the saloon owner, the women, the prospectors, the soldiers. The mis-booked male saloon star Francis Fryer (Phil Ormerod) who is meant to be a woman, Frances Fryer, so as not to disappoint does a show in drag and almost creates a riot. However the real Chicago saloon dance scene starring the provocative Adelaid is about as raunchy as a Sunday School outing. 

Toyah Willcox puts an immense amount of energy into the role and a certain vigorous charm. She sings well although some of the early songs seemed underpowered and her American accent is passable, but I shall avoid the temptation to compare her with Doris Day. More at home in her Redskin outfit than a ball gown, her performance is full of verve. Michael Cormick as Wild Bill Hickok is a find, he won a series of New Faces in his native Australia and his singing voice is superb. 

The ensemble dance numbers are fun, often set against outstandingly pretty red-purple sunsets with the silhouetted famous Black Hills. I liked too the full size, authentic looking recreation of the Deadwood Stage which inspires the "Whip Crack away" song. Miniature houses light up at night to give an impression of the main street of Deadwood. This is a small budget musical which, should you miss, would not be a calamitous disaster. 

Lizzie Loveridge

IC Surrey/IC Croydon: Wild Bill's the man for me - 5th July 2003

If you were giving prizes for the West End actor performing with the most energy, Toyah Willcox would certainly be in the running for her portrayal of the whip-cracking tomboy heroine of this musical.

After a national tour (which pulled out of its date at Wimbledon Theatre so the actress could take part in I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!), she looks as fit as a fiddle and invests the role with enormous vigour, constantly getting man-handled around the stage.

Sometimes it all looks a bit too theatrical for my liking. And that is more or less where this Calam begins and ends. All that exuberance succeeds in obliterating any layers of character that lie beneath the girl's roughneck façade.

Sure, she gets upset when the guy she fancies, Lt Danny Gilmartin, gets the hots for another, but there is no vulnerability attached to the tears.

Toyah's singing is a bit of a disappointment as well, with the great Secret Love failing to hit the spot.

As anyone who knows and loves the Doris Day movie will know, the disaster-prone Calamity ends up with her long-time love-hate rival Wild Bill Hickock. And he'd
be the man for me too!

Michael Cormick's most recent West End appearance was as the Prince in the ill-fated Romeo and Juliet. He has huge stage charisma and a sexy singing voice which makes you go weak at the knees. His Higher Than a Hawk
is the hit of the show.

Two delightful young actresses to look out for are Kellie Ryan as Katie Brown and Abigail Aston as Susan - both new to the profession and, on this showing, they have a bright future.

By Diana Eccleston

The Stage: Calamity Jane - 3rd July 2003

This cheerful musical reminds us of a time not only before Sondheim but Rodgers and Hammerstein. Yet it proves that this era, in which the action was interrupted by song and dance numbers that had slight relevance to the plot, had something to commend it, if only because you knew what you were going to get eventually. 

Of course this was not originally a stage musical at all but a film vehicle for Doris Day, though it has been quite neatly adapted by Charles K Freeman. The songs, by a couple of established film composers, are fairly run of the mill, but The Deadwood Stage, Windy City, Black Hills of Dakota and, notably, Secret Love, still have the resonance of a more innocent age. 

Its central figure is, of course, the tomboy who is more at ease with hor-ses, whips and guns than men until she finds that by throwing aside her fringed jacket, cowboy hat and boots and scrubbing her face that not only are men immediately attracted but she finds herself falling in love with both the upright army officer and, more unexpectedly, with the taciturn Wild Bill Hickok. 

Not exactly a feminist text, then, but entertaining all the same and boasting an almost staggeringly energetic performance from Toyah Willcox, whose non-stop activity in a variety of fields has hitherto prevented her from demonstrating very considerable stage talents. 

She has strong support from Michael Cormick, almost Howard Keel reborn, as Wild Bill, Kellie Ryan as the maid masquerading as a big city star and a lively young company who revel in Craig Revel Horwood's choreography.

Peter Hepple

Theatre Guide London: Calamity Jane - 1st July 2003

Calamity Jane is a perky little puppy of a show that wants nothing more than to bounce around, chase its tail and let you love it. It is so good-spirited that criticising it (and I suppose I'll have to before I'm done) is as pointless and curmudgeonly as refusing to pet that puppy because it's not purebred enough. 

Based on a forgettable 1953 Doris Day movie, the show tells of innocent confusions and romance in the Wild West, centering on a romantic quadrangle. Tomboy Jane is constantly feuding with Wild Bill Hickok but soft on Calvary Lieutenant Danny, while both men have fallen for Katie, the new saloon singer in town. I won't spoil the ending or surprise you when I report that Jane eventually puts on a dress and she and Bill get together, leaving the other couple to join the double wedding. 

The movie had only a half-dozen songs by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster, so the show has added a few more out of their catalogue. While only the Oscar-winning Secret Love is really of much merit, Windy City (a blatant rip-off of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Kansas City) has been turned into a rousing dance number, and the others are pleasant enough. 

The big attraction and dynamic engine of the show is star Toyah Willcox. The pop singer, actress and occasional Teletubbies voice is onstage almost continuously, drawing on reserves of perkiness that could light up a medium-sized city. She sings while driving a stagecoach, she sings while lying on the floor, she sings while cracking a whip, she sings while hanging from the rafters, and if she ever actually stops smiling, I missed the moment. While so much sparkling could become annoying in a less personable and good-natured a performer, you can't help but give in and just enjoy the show with her. 

Michael Cormick and Garry Kilby are appropriately handsome and manly as the love interests, though Kellie Ryan seems to have been cast as Katie with an eye toward making sure she never threatened the star, either in appearance or singing. 

Director Ed Curtis keeps everything bouncing along, and choreographer Craig Revel Horwood borrows wisely, openly quoting both Michael Kidd and Bob Fosse in his high-energy dance numbers. 

It isn't Hamlet. It isn't My Fair Lady or even Mamma Mia, but it doesn't pretend to be. It wants to be a nice, simple, fun-for-the-whole-family show, and it succeeds engagingly. 

Gerald Berkowitz 

Daily Mail: Going great guns! How the West End was won by Toyah - 27th June 2003

Toyah Willcox has survived not only the jungle, but also close proximity to Phil Tufnell and Danniella Westbrook.

Could she survive a West End opening night in a role belonging to Doris Day in the 1953 movie, and in a stage version of that film that has never had any credibility or track record?

Well, she does, with a wham and a bam and a thank you Calam! No cries last night of 'I'm a Calamity, Get Me Out of Here!'

Toyah's jungle jaunt has had the unexpected side-effect of making her look even more like a boy than the irreclaimable tomboy she plays: Indian lookout on the Deadwood Stage and fall gal in Dakota's saloon bar.

Her shanks have shrunk and she barely fills the seat of her own pants. But she's still the same get-up-and-go Toyah. What she lacks, of course, is Doris Day's glamour and charm.

When her affection for Wild Bill Hickok finally comes tumbling out with her golden tresses in the Oscar-winning song Once I Had A Secret Love, she yelps like a puppy. The show needs something more lyrical.

She and Bill - the handsome, well-voiced Michael Cormick - are like Beatrice and Benedick in Shakespeare's Much Ado, loving to hate each other so much that insults become foreplay.

'We're like a seven-year itch to each other,' says Calam, 'but it's a lot of fun scratching.'

Way out there in the black hills of Dakota - those Doris Day songs are coming back to you now, aren't they? - Calamity boasts she can provide a top cabaret act from Chicago. Instead she returns with her maid. The maid does fine when she performs as herself, and then falls in love with the other romantic possibility in Calam's life, the handsome cavalry lieutenant.

A lot of the show feels and sounds like a less serious version of the ground-breaking Oklahoma!

Toyah has been on the road with Calamity for a couple of years, but Ed Curtis's production - despite a few blips in the microphoning department - is fresh and enjoyable.

And Simon Higlett's designs are a treat, clean and colourful, with the township represented in illuminated miniature and clouds forming in the great black and golden skies of a John Ford movie.

The songs, from an age of musical comedy innocence, are all lovely and beautifully crated.

And there's a notable West End debut from delectable Katie Brown as the maid from Chicago who gets made in Dakota.

Michael Coveney at last night's first night of a cowboy classic

The Times: Whipped, cracked and away - 27th June 2003

According to one of the bright, tuneful songs that pack Charles K. Freeman’s stage adaptation of Calamity Jane, the pines are so high in the black hills of Dakota that they kiss the sky. But the simple timbering of Simon Higlett’s set means we must take that on trust. 

What is rather more certain is that white folks in Dakotan injun territory spend large parts of their days bounding about, whooping loudly and chorusing “whipcrack away, whipcrack away, whipcrack away”. 

The original film had not much subtlety or finesse — another Dakotan trait seems to be falling deeply in and out of love in a millisecond — but it had Doris Day as the title character and, as I recall, lots of energy. 

This theatre version has Toyah Willcox in the lead and, when she is acting the tomboy in her cowgirl suit, even more energy. Think of a hyperactive leprechaun, or an elf who has overdosed on adrenalin, and you have her Calamity Jane. 

Willcox hops, skips, pants, bounces, bustles, gasps, grins, flaps her arms, waves her pony-tail, bangs off her pistols, falls to the floor, scampers onto podia or up walls. You would not be surprised if she somersaulted up to the flies and tore apart the lighting rig. 

She is the bubbling epicentre of Ed Curtis’s relentlessly larky production. She batters you into being charmed by her. It is exhausting. 

Still, that means that the story whizzes by, which is just as well, for it’s nothing special. You quickly twig that Deadwood, Dakota, is the sort of town where conversation consists of things like “that’s as easy as skinning a possum” or “I can trust that as much as I can a blind rabbit”. 

So it is understandable that the local theatre owner should want to import a sexy singer. But, thanks to one of Calamity’s trademark muddles, they get the famous Adelaid Adams’s dresser instead of the lady herself. 

I had better not recount precisely what ensues, but I can say that there are male stag battles, lots of sexist jabber about nice female women and, as an emotional climax, a nice rendering of Once I Had a Secret Love. Oh, well, it won’t do too much harm to reveal that one of the singers is Wild Bill Hickok, who is here redefined by Michael Cormick as Rather Tame Bill Hickok: a big, commanding chap who, unlike the frantic folk around him, arrogantly lolls and saunters and never has a hair out of place. 

There is capable enough support from Kellie Ryan, Garry Kilby and others, but, ultimately, nothing to explain precisely why anyone decided to transpose a well-loved movie from the screen to stage. Or are the producers hoping to repeat the box-office success of that other former film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? If so, they will probably be disappointed. 

Benedict Nightingale 

City Live: Calamity Jane - 29th June 2003

If you are interested in watching fantastic live performances and are into musicals, I highly recommend watching ‘Calamity Jane’ at the Shaftesbury Theatre. But even if musicals don’t appeal to you, I still highly recommend you to give it a go. 

You may have seen the posters in the London Underground starring Toyah Willcox and to be honest, the poster lacks the appealing factor to us students. However, after going to see Calamity Jane for real I was surprised how entertaining and exciting it was. 

The storyline is simple to follow, and for those international students, you don’t really need splendid English to understand what is going on, although at times I did struggle to understand the actors and actresses as they spoke in American accents. But who cares about that as they have magnificent singing voices and, accompanied by a live orchestra, the performance is top notch and as a result the atmosphere is wonderful. 

The show is about three hours longs with a 20-30 minutes break halfway through. The only refreshment I saw was Haagen-Dazs and it is costly at £2 for a tiny tub. Bringing your own drinks and snacks is recommended if you want to keep the cost down. 

Tickets are fairly expensive. Standard ticket prices are from £10 and up to £37! However, do not be put off by these prices because lucky you that you are a student and may only need to pay £15 (up to 60% off of the asking price). That’s a great deal. Your student card is required. In my opinion I think it is worth the money and that going to see this show is many times better than going to the cinema. 

Before you decide to go, it essential to check out www.calamityjanethemusical.co.uk for all the details. 

Christopher Yan 

Evening Standard: I'm a Calamity, get me out of here - 27th June 2003

In 1953, Doris Day briefly laid aside blonde perfection and doe-eyed domesticity to play Calamity Jane, a Wild West tomboy with little dress sense and rather more aggressive motives than Mae West for asking a man if he had a gun in his pocket. 

Now Toyah Willcox smears fake mud on her face to become the bullish cowgirl with a bullet habit, presumably hoping to attract better reactions than "She's a calamity, get me out of here!" 

Calamity Jane was devised by Warner Brothers as a retort to MGM, which won enthusiastic audiences in 1950 with its film of the popular Western musical Annie Get Your Gun. 

However, the somewhat naive charm of the thigh-slappin' gun-totin' original has dissolved in a production reeking of gingham and lukewarm feminism, which does not have enough tongue-in-cheek humour to carry off Calamity's transition from bar-brawling man-fighter to petticoatwearing man-eater. 

When Willcox emerged from I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! she said: "I enjoyed not bathing, I enjoyed not changing my clothes and I enjoyed just getting muddy." 

She could have been describing the lifestyle of the woman behind her character - a 19th century tomboy who joined the army, became a scout for General Custer and led a harddrinking existence, sleeping under wagons, camping out in fields, and lurking in men-only bars. 

It would be easier to imagine her playing the historical figure than the more sentimental caricature in the musical, not least because 21st century audience members would not have to deal with the scene where Calamity Jane discovers the joys of housekeeping. 

The song A Woman's Touch is the lowest point, in contrast to the sub-Cole Porter but nonetheless amusing number where Calamity and her soon-to-be love Wild Bill Hickok (does that make her a Hickok Blonde?), hurl such simmeringly intimate insults at each other as "In the Christian/You're the why/In the ointment/You're the fly". 

All right, it's not wordplay at its most sparkling - and perhaps this is the real problem: despite Ed Curtis's lively direction and Sammy Fain's catchy tunes, the script is not nearly sharp enough for Calamity Jane to be admired either as a period piece or as a retro-classic. 

As a result, the production lives or dies by Willcox's performance, an unfortunately forced twodimensional affair, which drags the audience through the dust of a quest, first to bring an actress who's all fibs and fishnets to entertain the men of Deadwood, and then to win a man who can deal with the fact that Calamity is the kind of wife who's happier to whip up a fight than a pudding. 

Despite Willcox's pop-singing background, other members of the cast shine more as vocalists - Michael Cormick, in particular, as Wild Bill Hickok, has a voice that could have been matured in a whisky barrel. 

Calamity Jane may have been better off sticking to her guns, but the producers should bite the bullet and concede that this is little more than a dated romp though the not-so-wild West. 

Rachel Halliburton 

What's On Stage: Calamity Jane - 28th June 2003

There's something about Calamity Jane that smells of the 1950s. When women were being exhorted to put their menfolk first and become homemakers, this slice of artificial American history would have been just the thing to reinforce the casual sexism of the times. 

After all, a song stating that a "woman's touch" would be all that was needed to convert a ramshackle shack into what estate agents would now call a bijou cottage would have been accepted by both sexes. And of course, 1950s' audiences would have been blind to the lesbian undertones and slices of high camp of the piece. 

However, as Ed Curtis's production decides to play the whole thing straight. It's as if 50 years of showbiz history has passed us by, and we're watching a piece of the past, without any post-modern touches. It's all curiously dated.

Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster's musical hasn't aged well either. Of course, "Secret Love" and "Deadwood Stage" are fine songs and hold up well, but the rest are a decidedly mixed bunch - and the production's lacklustre dancing doesn't help lift the atmosphere. 

What's more, at the West End press night, the acoustics were dreadful. From the middle of the stalls, too many words were indistinct. I wasn't sure whether this was a problem with the theatre acoustics, malfunctioning radio mikes or poor diction (or a combination of all three). Certainly, Garry Kilby as Danny Gilmartin was having a torrid time with his mike, which seemed to inhibit his performance. 

The other problem is Toyah Willcox. Whisper it softly, but she's too old for this part. That would be acceptable if she had the singing voice to compensate - but she hasn't. It's far too weak to carry the lead part in a West End show. It was good to see her fellow jungle celebrities in the audience (well, Fash, Wayne and Sian), but Wilcox seemed to be struggling from the outset. That said, she certainly isn't short of enthusiasm - flinging herself into all proceedings with gusto, she very nearly carries it off. 

It's also hard to get enthusiastic about Simon Higlett's set. There's a delicious Spinal Tap moment when the curtains reveal some miniature houses duly straddled by the chorus to an unintentionally humorous effect. 

The only real saving grace of the evening is Michael Cormick's Wild Bill Hickok who doesn't put a foot wrong. A commanding presence, a superb singing voice with admirable diction, he's a joy. Phil Ormerod and Abigail Aston as the young lovers, Francis and Susan acquit themselves well, too. 

Calamity doesn't quite live down to its name - it's doesn't rank as a great theatrical disasters. However, if it's trying to pass itself off as a proper West End musical, its audience is entitled to expect something a bit more magical. After all, while it might look like a 1950s' production, it's certainly not charging 1950s' prices. 

Maxwell Cooter 

The Guardian: Calamity Jane - 27th June 2003

The hillbilly heroine dresses like a man. Her prowess with a gun deters potential suitors. Only when she embraces her femininity does she find true love. 

Such is the outline of Calamity Jane, which must have left the creators of Annie Get Your Gun gasping with amazement at the later show's chutzpah at hitching a ride on their success. 

Calamity Jane started life as a 1953 Doris Day movie; and, although the stage version has its moments, it suffers from some fairly risible plotting. Much of the first half hinges on a mistaken identity joke by which a Chicago chanteuse's maid passes herself off as her mistress to the Deadwood citizens; but, such is the power of showbusiness, that the maid, Kate, quickly blossoms into a saloon star. 

And, although both Kate and Calamity are in love with the same guy, the tomboy heroine switches her affections to Wild Bill Hickok on the strength of a single kiss. 

If the show's story is incredible, its sexual attitudes are antediluvian. "You dress, talk and shoot like a man," Wild Bill tells Calamity at one point, "but you think like a female", implying that she is fundamentally irrational. 

But behind the show's endorsement of what Shaw once called the "manly man" and the "womanly woman" lurks a strange preoccupation with transvestism. If Calamity has to be cajoled into wearing a dress, the men in the cast can hardly wait: thus we get a saloon drag turn, Will Bill disguising himself as a Sioux squaw, and even a Chicago doorman measuring himself up against the chanteuse's frock. 

The show's saving graces are Sammy Fain's score and Craig Revel Horwood's choreography. Black Hills of Dakota, sung against the silhouette of Simon Higlett's sierra, is particularly affecting. 

And Horwood, as he proved with My One and Only, has the capacity to create genuinely sexy dances: a Chicago nightclub number certainly gets the juices going and when the Deadwood prospectors sing a hymn to their pin-up, Adelaid, they seem literally to be enjoying themselves. 

But the show's box-office appeal rests on Toyah Willcox as Calamity; though "rests" is hardly the word for a performance so hyper-energetic that it left me longing to lie down in a darkened room. 

When Willcox simply stands and delivers, as in Secret Love, she can be effective. But for the most part she is so busy leaping on bars and jumping frenetically around that the show seems less a hymn to the Wild West than to St Vitus. 

My sympathies were with Michael Cormick's well-sung Bill Hickok, who finally marries Calamity but who, given Willcox's delirious mobility, will clearly be dead within a month.

Michael Billington 

The Observer: Calamity Jane - 29th June 2003

Calamity Jane never aimed for authenticity - think Doris Day as a fantast tomboy in the 1953 film. Its combination of apple-pie wholesomeness and a fixation on cross-dressing now looks seriously weird. Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster's songs provide a line-up of melodies - 'Secret Love', 'The Black Hills of Dakota' - that could lift the guns-and-gingham western musical, even in a production as ordinary as Ed Curtis's, which has a design that looks like a garden shed, gawky ho-down choreography, and girls prancing in pantaloons and corsets. 

Michael Cormick is in full-blooded voice as the gunslinging Wild Bill Hickock. Toyah Willcox makes our heroine into a capering pixie. She jumps well, but has she been wired for sound? It's impossible to hear the words through the swish of herconsonants and fixed puppet-like grin. 

Susannah Clapp

Ch4 Teletext (On Stage): Calamity Jane - 27th June 2003

Calamity Jane, in all her hyperactive, Annie Get Your Gun-type Wild West songfest, has Toyah Willcox, apparently on speed, in the leading role.

It is not entirely clear why anyone wanted to transpose the 1953 Doris Day movie to the stage, but producers do odd things in the name of profit and they might well be right.

The score by Sammy Wain includes an Oscar-winning song Secret Love.

The score helps to deaden the feeling that this cheerful, hard-working, perfectly adequate production deosn't really belong on the West End stage.

Toyah Willcox fair batters you into admiring her irredeemably perky performance as the Stagecoach driver.

She helps the local theatre owner to import a vaudeville performer from Chicago to Deadwood without realising she is the actress's dresser.

The rest of the evening is spent on sorting out this misunderstanding and two other romanitc plots involving Calam and Wild Bill Hickok.

He is played by Michael Cormick, a handsome young Australian with a lovely voice.

The young, indexperienced cast (many who have just left drama school), under the steady hand of Ed Curtis, are well drilled and pleasant.

Craig Revel Harwood's choreography, though at first sub-Agnes De Mille, blossoms outwatrds to remind the audience of what was so special about his work for My One And Only.

Willcox is constantly moving, singing, dancing like an irritating leprechaun, and expends more energy in one evening than I have in 20 years.

The production started in Northampton and has been touring for a long time.

Calamity Jane's simple wooden sets are more than serviceable, while James Whiteside's lighting is suitably lurid for the Black Hills Of Dakota.

Sheridan Morley.

Many thanks to Michael Cooney & Andi Westhorpe

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