28 July to 1 August 2015
Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
Last night we made the trip out to Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall to watch the classic musical Calamity Jane. With Jodie Prenger starring at Calamity and Tom Lister, of Emmerdale fame, starring as Wild Bill Hickok, the acting was superb from start to finish.
Based on the Wild West’s most famous heroine this musical is about Calamity Jane, aka ‘Calam’ who dresses like a man, shoots and talks like a man and drives the Deadwood City stagecoach. Essentially a love story, the tale begins as she tries to help the local saloon proprietor when the actress he requests to play at his saloon turns out to be an actor. The men in the audience are totally unimpressed to say the least and Calam tries to get him out of a jam by promising to fetch Adelaide Adams, the most famous and most beautiful music hall star from Chicago.
On arriving in Chicago and not knowing what Adelaide looks like she unwittingly brings back her maid instead and the story unfolds from there. It’s hilarious in parts, but with several tender moments backed with several famous tunes such as ‘Whip Crack Away’, ‘The Black Hills of Dakota’, and ‘Windy City’. One thing that really impressed me was the lack of orchestra in the pit. All of the instruments, and there were a lot of them, were played by the cast on stage either as they were singing and dancing or sitting back in the shadows on the stage edges.
The whole evening was laugh out loud entertaining and can be enjoyed by all ages, in fact there was a huge age range in the audience from young to old. I must also mention the fantastic singing with amazing melodies coming together when the whole cast was performing some of the slower numbers.
Easy and affordable parking, together with a well-stocked bar, clean facilities and friendly staff at the Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall add up to make a good evening great. It is an old style theatre but that’s what gives it a great ambiance and fantastic acoustics.
A very entertaining evening enhanced by great acting, singing and musical performances, I highly recommend this production of Calamity Jane.
Tickets cost from £17.50 to £37.50 (booking fees may apply)
Calamity Jane is at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells until 1 August 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01892 530613.
Assembly Hall Theatre, Crescent Rd, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2LU | 01892 530613