Opera hop on Deadwood stage

The dancing girls try out feather boas while Calamity Jane leading lady Lyn Ireland grabs her gun during the final rehursals for Berwick Operatic Society
The dancing girls try out feather boas while Calamity Jane leading lady Lyn Ireland grabs her gun during the final rehursals for Berwick Operatic Society

Last year they delighted with Disney but for their 2014 spring show, Berwick Operatic Society are taking audiences on a journey to the Wild West with ‘Calamity Jane’.

The 1953 film musical, starring Doris Day and Howard Heel is still hugely popular to this day and won an Academy Award for Best Song for ‘Secret Love’.

When the curtain goes up at The Maltings on Wednesday, March 26 the song will be song by Lynn Ireland, a familiar face to people in Berwickshire having starred as Belle in ‘Beauty & the Beast’ and Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’ in the last two years with Eyemouth Variety Group.

It was the pull of a role she’s always wanted to play that has taken her over the border although haven’t failed to land the role two times before, once in front of this year’s director Mark Pentecost, it’s a case of third time lucky.

“My first main part in an amateur dramatic show was Katie Brown in ‘Calamity Jane’ in 2001,” she explained.

“That was with Berwick Opera and although I did go for Calamity it was just a great show to be in.

“I also went for the part when Duns did the show a few years later. Mark was the director and picked someone else so I have to say the audition this time round was probably my most nerve wracking to date.

“It’s just fantastic have the role- Calamity has a lot to her.”

So what was it that made Mark put his faith in Lynn?

“There was absolutely no doubt in my mind this time,” the man himself commented.

“Everyone on the audition panel felt the same.

“I just felt she wasn’t quite ready for it at Duns but her stage presence is no much better now and her voice has just got better and better.”

Rehearsals for ‘Calamity Jane’ began in the August but Mark quickly noticed there was a severe lack of men in the cast.

He made an appeal through the pages of the paper for more men to get involved and he was happy to report that with a few weeks to go numbers were a lot healthier.

“At our worst point we had only one man which was just completely ludicrous; there’s a strong male presence in the show so we needed quite a few more.

“The main concern was the role of Danny but fortunately we’ve found a great one in the form of Slink Jadranko (last cast in ‘The Words in The Wires’ last summer). He’s the perfect fit for the role.

“We’ve also got Steve Sadler (Eyemouth’s Gaston in ‘Beauty & the Beast’ and Berwick Opera’s Renee in ‘Allo Allo’) as Bill and he’s a great addition.”

‘Calamity Jane’s is very much in the ‘old favourite’ mould but Mark hasn’t been afraid to ring the chances and put his own slant on it.

“The first thing that struck me was that act one is ludicrously long whereas act two feels really rushed through.

“So cuts have been made and it’s balanced out more.

“I’ve brought a bit of 19th century burlesque to proceedings to bring some colour to the rough frontier town the show is set in.

“As well as having great songs ‘Calamity Jane’s characters have all have a bit of meat to them, making them easy to love and identify with.”

*’Calamity Jane’ is on at The Maltings from Wednesday, March 26-Saturday, March 29 with evening performances at 7.30pm and a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.