It’s far from a Calamity, Jane

Bo'ness Amateur Operatic Society Calamity Jane
Bo'ness Amateur Operatic Society Calamity Jane
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There are always hiccups to be expected in an amateur theatre performance - a dropped prop, a line that slips the mind, an occasional bum note - but the only real sign of calamity in Bo’ness Amateur Operatic Society’s 2014 show was in the title.

Opening on Tuesday night to an eager audience in Bo’ness Town Hall, the society performed the popular western musical, Calamity Jane.

Susan McFarlane took centre stage as the bolshy, pistol-toting cowgirl, and did a stellar job delivering Calamity’s fiery putdowns with a gung-ho attitude.

The chorus took a little while to come into their own, with the speedy pace of the opening number proving difficult for some.

This had all changed by the second act however, which saw a stunning arrangement in the form of ‘The Black Hills of Dakota’, with the bass and sopranos complimenting one another nicely.

Will Treeby delivered some of the best solo vocal performances of the night in his role as Wild Bill Hickock - Calamity Jane’s rival, and later in the show, her lover.

His rendition of ‘Adelaide’ in particular, was very strong. The song, as fans of the musical will know, refers to Adelaide Adams (Jennifer Adamson), the beautiful actress who Calamity is charged with bringing back to the town of Deadwood for a show at the local saloon.

This followed a gaffe from the saloon’s proprietor Henry Miller (Nick Dixon), who had hired ‘actress’ Francis Fryer (Alastair Brown) to perform for his punters. Of course when Francis’s wig falls off during the gig, revealing her to be a man, riotous scenes ensue and it falls to Calamity to restore order.

Full credit has to be given to Alastair for his somewhat bold appearance on stage in bright make-up, a fancy frock and a feather boa, which drew whoops of laughter from the audience.