Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe has created an absolute cracker of a musical with its rousing production of Calamity Jane that fizzes with energy from the very start.
Calamity Jane can outrun and outshoot any man in Deadwood. Hard, boastful and desperate to impress, she travels to Chicago on the Deadwood Stage to recruit a star, Adelaide Adams. But things don't go too smoothly for Calamity, as everyone in town favours the new girl and she struggles to keep her jealousy and pride in check. It takes her long standing enemy Wild Bill Hickok to make her see sense, and realise her Secret Love…
Sarah Moran played the feisty, buckskin-wearing Calamity with gusto, telling tall tales and shooting (not to mention rooting and of course, tooting) as good as any man. She is a short-tempered firecracker who boasts of her amazing tales of adventure but then, “she’s not exactly lying but she’s careless with the truth.”
Calamity is in love with Lt. Danny (Jacob Woolstencroft), but her real match is Wild Bill Hickok, a powerful spirited performance from the charismatic Jim Essien.
Petrina Emerson is the vexed owner of the saloon, Henry Miller, who has booked the voluptuous Frances Fryer (Cole Morris) to perform, much to the enthusiasm of the locals. But when she turns out to be a man owing to a misunderstanding in the spelling of the name, things turn nasty.
Jessica Murphy gives a fantastic performance in the role of the diva Adelaide. Hannah Ruddock is delightful as the ambitious Katie Brown who has been left Miss Adelaide’s costumes and believes that she can sing as well as the star, who has now gone on a European tour.
This was very much an ensemble show with superlative support from Emily Burns as Doc, Rebecca Vesey as Rattlesnake, Oceana Cage as Joe and Olivia Lingard playing Susan.
Mrs Fiona Minshall, Head Teacher, said: “The show was directed with flair and panache and the set was superbly designed perfectly recreating the Golden Garter Saloon. It was a pure delight to watch. It was impossible to prevent yourself from tapping along to the music; I was desperate to shout out ‘yeehah’!
“The cast were hairs-raised-on-the-back-of-your-neck stunning. They had such commitment and energy. I felt incredibly proud that they are our pupils.”