9 to 5

Date 2nd December 2023
Society Port Sunlight Players
Venue Gladstone Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Emma Gorden
Musical Director Greg Williams
Choreographer Nicki Goodacre
Lighting&sound Lucy Marsh.James Fox.Oscar Ablett..Ezra Russell.Lewis Bradley
Written By Dolly Parton. Patricia Resnick.

Report

Author: Joanne Rymer

9 to 5

Port Sunlight Players

2/12/23

 

Based on the hit movie, adapted to the stage by film co-writer Patricia Resnick, the musical is at its heart about sexism and how women are belittled in the workplace. 9 to 5 features music written for the show by Dolly Parton: its Dolly Parton herself who appears on video at the start of the show and sets the scene as the title number gets going and once things get going to pace doesn't relent. It is upbeat, funny, full of great songs and dance numbers and delivers a message about empowerment that is relevant and important today.

Set in 1979, the show tells the story of three downtrodden female office workers Violet, Doralee, and Judy who decide to take revenge on their horrible boss (repeatedly described as a 'sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot'). Owing to a bizarre series of events, they end up kidnapping him and holding him prisoner while they gather evidence of his embezzlement of company funds. It also gives them the chance to run the company the way they want, implementing better working conditions, job-share, free day care, and equal pay. that in 2023 still remain a fantasy for most women.

Director Emma Gorden has to be commended on her casting, with an extremely talented cast, her four principals Sarah Malyj (Violet Newstead), Lydia Prescott (Judy Bernly), Olivia McKeon as blonde bombshell (Doralee Rhodes) and Jason Collinson as boss -from-hell (Franklin Hart Jr) gave fine performances. Congratulations Emma on your debut direction for Port Sunlight Players.

There were some lovely performances from the supporting roles too. Sarah-Jane-Ashton gave a storming performance as Roz, Hart's devoted PA. Her comic, tragic rendition of ‘Heart to Hart ‘(even when dealing with voice loss) we learned of her unrequited love for Hart. Harvey Muirhead is to be praised for his sensitive portrayal as accountant Joe, the younger man who pursues, and eventually wins the love of Violet. Office girls Missy (Trish Reilly) Kathy (Lizzie Abbott) Margaret (Adelle Riley-Bell) and Maria (Louisa Down) were spot on. The principal ladies’ husbands Stetson wearing Dwayne Rhodes (Barry Dunne) Josh Newstead (Oliver Beetson), and logan Menaul (Dick Bernly) Judy’s philandering husband all added to the fun . An enchanting cameo from Kevin Fishwick as CEO Russell Tinsworthy, who promotes Violet into Harts position.

We all know how a musical is more than the principal players, the experienced chorus and full ensemble in this production did an amazing job, it is impossible to mention you all individually you were all splendid.

Musical director Greg Williams deserves praise delivering some complicated musical arrangements, highlights, ‘Punchin’, ‘Shine like the Sun’, ‘Heart to Hart’ and the great rendition from Lydia Prescott ‘Get out & Stay Out’ which was amazing. Choreographer Nicki Goodacre showed her talents best in the ‘under influence’ sequences where Violet, Judy and Doralee envisage the various ways in which they'd like to do away with Hart. Another dance sequence I thought a highlight was the opening scene of the show depicting a daily commute, with clever use of projection on the huge backdrop, loved the elevator scene, inspirational. Excellent designed set, perfect for the activity ahead, with imaginative use of lighting.

 9 to 5 delivers an entertaining evening for any audience looking for an uplifting night out and sometimes that's all you need. Judging by a unanimous standing ovation on the evening I attended the audience at the Gladstone Theatre it delivered in spades. 

Another successful and truly entertaining evening. thank you for inviting me, I am looking forward to the next one.

 

Joanne Rymer

NODA

District 4