By James Butler
But by the end of the hoedown reprise, I was clapping along with the rest of the crowd. Such was the energy of the production.
It did take a little while to warm up. My ear had to adjust to the strong mid-western accents, and there was quite a lot of exposition before the story hotted up in the second half.
But when the show hit its stride, there was nothing stopping it.
The love square that forms during the story was played out with humour and warmth, not least by Jodie Prenger as Calam’ and Tom Lister as her rival-turned-lover Wild Bill Hickok.
Jodie’s timing and boisterious characterisation was reminiscent of a young Dawn French, especially when Calamity falls in the river and her voice was barnstorming.
The show was a lesson in economy – tables and chairs were transformed into stagecoaches by the acting of the cast, many of whom also played live instruments. It was so authentic that The Kings felt like a saloon for the evening.