9 to 5

Date 20th July 2023
Society South Moor Musical Theatre Group
Venue Alun Armstrong Theatre, Stanley Civic Hall
Type of Production Musical
Director Joan Oldfield
Musical Director John Hudson
Choreographer Joan Oldfield
Written By Dolly Parton, Patricia Resnick

Report

Author: Michelle Coulson

First of all congratulations to the whole society on your 90th anniversary, a fantastic achievement!

With music by Dolly Parton and a funny plot following three women working “9 to 5” in an office run by an arrogant, sexist boss this is a show which pays homage to the 1980s. This show is definitely a period piece now with some character stereotypes, themes of gender equality, equal pay and women’s rights but the overall message is a positive one that sees the women win in the end and promote women’s rights.

The production began with a pre-recorded video where Dolly Parton set the scene introducing the main characters before singing along with the cast, this was a good lively start to the show. The production used projected scenes throughout which were ideal for setting the scene although lost detail when the light was lifted. The scenes were complemented by good use of furniture and props which were placed quickly and quietly throughout and never held up the action, well done to the crew. The costumes which were provided by society members where good and care had been taken to reflect the period. The nine piece band under the direction of John Hudson were excellent and accompanied the performers perfectly.

This show has plenty of full ensemble songs throughout and also opportunities for many cameo roles with each ensemble member having a character to portray. These were done well but stand out characters were Margaret Waugh as office “lush” Margaret, Andrew Howe as ever supportive Dwayne, Catherine Salkeld as mistreat Maria, Harry Hudson as Violet’s teenage son Josh, Stephen Shield as Dick Judy’s soon to be ex, and Michael Green as the suave Mr Tinsworthy. As well as the comedy the show had moments of poignancy especially in the “Let Love Grow” number by Joe (Ian Mordue) and Violet (Lindsay Kellegher), this was tender and so well sung. Gill Wilde as Hart’s secretary Roz was a revelation in this role, such a different character for her to play which she grasped and had an absolute ball with, her vocal performance in "Heart to Hart" was superb. Nick Goddard as company CEO Hart was clearly enjoying his misogynistic character, he certainly captured the worst traits and his portrayal definitely made the audience side with his female staff. The three lead characters in this show are the perfect vehicle for strong female performers and this was certainly the case. Lindsay Kellegher as Violet, Kirsty Shield as Doralee and Lauren Garforth as Judy were a strong line up who each gave different character traits to their roles. All of their musical numbers were good but a highlight for me was the scene with the “fantasy” sequences “Dance of Death” (Judy), “Cowgirl’s Revenge” (Doralee), and “Potion Notion” (Violet), all had great energy and were thoroughly enjoyable.

Congratulations to Joan, John and the whole team at South Moor. This production had to be brought forward by several months due to the closure of the theatre at the end of July so it has been a challenge for all which you definitely rose to. In the society’s 90th year I truly hope that there is a re-think in respect of the performance venue but I’m confident that whatever happens South Moor MTG will be back performing somewhere very soon!