The Hayes Theatre is presenting yet another musical classic, Calamity Jane, with a production that needs to face off against a definitive movie version and the indelible image of Doris Day in the lead role.
However, in the true spirit of the fearless, rambunctious Jane, Virginia Gay takes that challenge, swings it around her head and whip cracks away. According to director, Richard Carroll, Gay’s portrayal is much closer to the real anarchic, chaotic, unpredictable, yarn-spinning Calamity Jane. She’s gritty and “man-ish”, allowing the play to explore queer elements in a way the movie could only do subtly.
“She wore men’s clothes, she did a lot of activities that were considered male activities…so obviously there are really interesting questions of gender there,” Carroll reflected.
There will be a number of devices that will differentiate the show from the movie, including one or two surprises; and it will be intrinsically different simply because that’s the nature of theatre explained Carroll.
“There will be elements of cabaret, elements of improv comedy…that’s one of the great things about live entertainment is that you can have a scripted show that can be different every night because of the vibe of the audience.”
The director is not phased by the limited space in the Hayes, instead using it to his advantage. He has placed tables and chairs on stage at which audience members will be seated.
“When you walk into the theatre you’ll feel like you’re walking into the Golden Garter Saloon. That’s one of the joys of doing a show in such an intimate space as The Hayes.”
Dust off your camel-skin, tasseled jacket and head to the Hayes.
Mar 8-Apr 1. The Hayes Theatre, 19 Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point. $55-$68. Tickets & Info: www.hayestheatre.com.au
By Rita Bratovich.