Just as the film Calamity Jane turned out a hit for Doris Day, hopes now ride high for BBC1’s I’d Do Anything winner Jodie Prenger, who takes the title role in this new Watermill stage production.

But Prenger is a very different Calam (as the gun-toting Calamity is universally called) to Day.

When Calam proclaims: “Lucky the woman who has never been took,” with the well-scrubbed Day the very thought of taking her virginity is beyond imagination. But with Prenger’s barnstorming Calam, it might be worth trying it on, you feel — but you’d have to get past her loaded gun first.

The production starts quite sedately, as Calam sets off for Chicago in the hopes of bringing famed artiste Adelaid Adams (Christina Tedders) back to strut her stuff in Deadwood City, Dakota. But director Nikolai Foster steadily builds a roistering atmosphere, and adds a considerable riot when Calam unfortunately returns not with Adelaid but with her assistant Katie — played by Phoebe Street in a first-rate performance.

There is particularly strong work, too, from Tom Lister (formerly of Emmerdale) as a smouldering Wild Bill Hickok. But this is a company show, and there are no weak links in the 13-strong actor-musician cast, all of whom sing and play Catherine Jayes’s sparkling arrangements of Sammy Fain’s score with great gusto.

The production goes straight from the Watermill into a national tour. How it will fare in some of Britain’s largest theatres remains to be seen, but it will never look or sound better than it does in the Watermill’s intimate auditorium, which has been decked out to look and feel like Deadwood City’s Golden Garter saloon (designer: Matthew Wright). As a result, you really do feel part of the action, and the urge to jump up and join in the dance numbers is almost overwhelming.

Calamity Jane
Watermill Theatre, Newbury
Until September 6
Tickets: 01635 46044, watermill.org.uk