By Claire Dempsey
Ballinasloe was transported to the Black Hills of Dakota last week as the Transition Years of Ardscoil Mhuire donned their plaid shirts and cowboy hats for rejuvenated version of Calamity Jane. The young cast brought a freshness and energy to the old musical society stalwart.
Clare Callaghan imbued the heroic tomboy with sparkle and wit. On stage for nearly every scene, this talented youngster showed real star quality in the pivotal role. Jack Kelly, as Wild Bill Hickok was a perfect romantic foil for his talented leading lady. Their harmonious rendition of Secret Love was one of the standout moments in the show.
Nadine Kenny as Francis Farmer and Grace Dooley as Katie Brown displayed excellent comic timing and stage presence. Kenny wowed as the gauche young actor forced into a corset to satisfy the wild Deadwood crowd in The Golden Garter Saloon and Dooley showed her versatility, deliberately singing and dancing badly as the ill-prepared Katie Brown takes to the stage before showing us exactly what she is really capable of in a subsequent scene.
Local director Eoin Croffy kept the audience on their toes with cowboys and cancan dancers running through the aisles of the Town Hall Theatre and the lively choreography by Aoife O’Grady harnessed the youthful exuberance of the young cast.
All in all Ardscoil Mhuire’s Calamity Jane certainly proved to be an entertaining and energetic production of the classic “rootin’ tootin’ shootin’est show.”