The issue with presenting a show like Calamity Jane is that the title role is so associated with one actress that it takes a great deal of talent for somebody to make the role their own, rather than come off as a Doris Day clone.
Thankfully, Sally Goddard proves once again that she is up to the task. This diminutive young actress is a bundle of charisma, her Calamity both feisty and full of joy.
Similarly, Matt Sackman shows once again why he is so highly thought of in Portsmouth theatrical circles, making the most of the dry wit of Wild Bill Hickock and adding a beautiful tenderness to the normally forgettable Higher Than A Hawk.
It’s always a pleasure to see the return of a familiar face and Rachel Potts doesn’t disappoint as Katie Brown, relishing her singing and adding a sense of naïve charm.
Special mention to Anneke Poppleton too, who shows innate charisma and makes the most out of the role of Susan.
With so much young talent the future certainly looks bright for SDMS.
Elsewhere, the singing is generally very good, but some scenes lack strong direction and a sense of pace and urgency. Nonetheless, as the audience will attest, there’s plenty to enjoy here.