9 to 5 the Musical
16th March 2018
Yeadon Theatre Company
Yeadon Town Hall
Type of Production
Author: Christine Castle
Following on from their huge success with 'Made in Dagenham', YAOS decided to stick with the 'feminist' theme to present '9 to 5' for their March producrtion - and what excellent timing! The musical may be set in the 1970s, but the issues it raises are as up to date as they can be!
Based on the film, with screen play by Patricia Resnick, the story follows three secretaries who, sick and tired of their boss's sexism and totally inappropriate behaviour, decide to 'kidnap' him and run the company themselves with, of course, brilliant results! The three principal protagonists, played in the film by Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton, are played here by three stunning actresses, supported by a talented bunch of office workers, female and male. The production, directed by Peyton Martin had all the hallmarks of a professional approach - well-directed and choregraphed, getting that great 70's feel, just before disco really took off. The music and lyrics were written by Dolly Parton herself and not only did they have that country feel, she can also write a fine soulful ballad, with the iconic '9 to 5' song from the original soundtrack to the film added for good measure.
Ruth Graham, who played the lead role as Violet, showed considerable strength both in voice and acting ability as the secretary who feels let down by the 'old boys' network and unable to get justified promotion. Jordan Garnett, as Doralee, played the Dolly role with gusto (and other assets!) and Fiona Yeadon played Judy, with great sensitivity and comedy. All three girls were on top form, especially in their vocals, which blew the audience away. Gavin Mills played the hateful boss, Mr Hart extremely well, capturing the typical 'man they love to hate'! Julie Kettlewell played Roz, the only worker in the office who loved Mr Hart and her solo number, imagining a romance with Hart, was hilarious. Paul Metcalfe, as Joe, Violet's would-be love interest, was very well played, as were all the minor principal characters in this production; they had energy and enthusiasm in abundance, this was a team effort for everybody on stage.
The musical director, Will Rowson and his fine orchestra, though unseen,nevertheless supported the cast confidently- yes, it was loud, but singers could be heard, thanks to the professional touch of Oli Trenouth on sound.
The staging of the show was well-thought out and I know that isn't easy on the Town Hall stage with its different levels. The props were all very authentic in style - well done to the crew! Costumes, make-up and hair were very well recreated - this period is not easy to copy. I only had one small criticism in that the lighting, at times, was a little patchy, it was difficult to see some performers clearly, at least from the balcony, where I sat. However, this did not distract from what I thought was an exciting, exhilarating and energetic musical and I was not alone - the audience had clearly equally enjoyed the very best of theatre and showed their appreciation with a standing ovation to the cast!