Jodie hits the target as Calamity Jane in this winner of a show

Calamity Jane''Photo by Manuel Harlan
Calamity Jane''Photo by Manuel Harlan

Stepping into the shoes of a screen musical icon was a challenge for Jodie Prenger.

Calamity Jane gave Doris Day a powerful acting role and provided her with one of the best of her many hits: the award-winning Secret Love.

So it was interesting to see how Prenger coped when the show rolled into Nottingham’s Theatre Royal.

In a demanding part requiring acting skills, not least the Wild West accent, and the ability to handle a range of songs including The Deadwood Stage, Just Blew in from the Windy City and Secret Love, she excels.

But then the whole show is a triumph. Gun-totin, tough as nails, whip-cracking. teller of tall tales Calamity can outrun and outshoot any man in the Deadwood of 1876.

In a case of mistaken identity, she unwittingly brings back Adelaid’s ambitious maid Katie Brown (Phoebe Street) and the regulars ain’t too pleased.

But Katie not only has looks but talent and soon has the Golden Garter denizens eating out of her hand.

While all this is going on there’s a spiky love-hate relationship between Calamity and Wild Bill Hickok and here Tom Lister is equally impressive. And there’s nothing finer than his solo High Than A Hawk, with a single guitar.

It was a work of genius to cast actor-musicians for the show and the set, just the Golden Garter, is stunning in its simplicity. The stagecoach is created by using a piano, some chairs and a few other props and there’s a nice backdrop for Chicago.

Everything ends happily, of course, with a trio of weddings accompanied by the lovely Black Hills of Dakota and a Deadwood Stage hoedown finale.