9 to 5 The Musical

Date 12th October 2019
Society Dinnington Operatic Society
Venue The Lyric Theatre, Dinnington
Type of Production Musical
Director Ashley Booker
Musical Director Jonathan WIlby
Choreographer Fiona Mikulik


Author: Jo Sykes

What an evening!  Dinnington Operatic Society (DOS), under the expert direction of Ashley Booker, brought the Lyric Theatre to life with their fabulous rendition of 9 to 5.  The show, based on the 1980s movie which stared Dolly Parton, centres on the lives of three women facing their own challenges both in work and at home - Violet, Judy and Doralee. 

The three DOS leading ladies really held their own with their contrasting characterisations, but a great ability to work together.  No nonsense Office Supervisor Violet Newstead was very well played by Samantha Smedley, who was word and step perfect throughout the show demonstrating a great versatility in her solo numbers and her entertaining work with the ensemble.  It’s not usual to mention a ladies age, but the role of Judy Bernly was taken and made her own by Hannah Oliver who I was astounded to read is only 17 – an amazing performance from this young woman who has a great voice and no doubt an exciting future ahead of her on stage.   Doralee was played by Parton in the film and as such there are expectations of presentation on stage and Sophie Keady easily lived up to these.  It wasn’t just about the ‘assets’ required for the role, Keady gave a standout passionate performance as the pint sized, sexy secretary whose fiery Texan heritage makes her stand up tall to the many challenges she faces in the macho world of business and I really enjoyed her excellent rendition of Backwoods Barbie. 

The lecherous Franklin Hart Jr was played by Kris Denman, not a character I would like to be alone in a room with.  He managed to maintain his demeanour throughout the show whilst wearing some ‘challenging’ costumes and with some ‘interesting’ dance moves – very well played.  Louise Selden was hilarious as Hart’s adoring assistant, Roz Keith - the comic number, Heart to Hart, was fantastic.  A number of smaller roles also added to the overall production including Joanne Thornewell as the office lush, Andrew Darksus as Dick Bernly, Lewis Maltby as Josh Newstead, Deborah Ball as Missy Hart, Johnny Green as Tinsworthy and Scott Walker as Dwayne Rhodes – with an amazing mullet and lively Texan dance moves.

There were a number of rather risqué moments in the show, not least in the opening, but these were well handled without turning the show into a farce.  The show wasn’t without sentiment and I noticed more than one audience member wipe away a tear during the touching duet by Smedley and her love interest, Joe, played by Mark Wareing.  The stand out moment for me in Act 2 was “Get Out and Stay Out” movingly sung by Oliver.  The production was accompanied by a live band, lead by MD Jonathan Wilby, which supported great singing throughout the show.

The Chorus clearly enjoyed this production too and worked hard to demonstrate that whilst they were an ‘ensemble’ they were all individual characters whose personalities had been developed to create an atmosphere of women working together to overcome oppression, sexism and inequality, but with a sense of humour to get them through.  Fiona Mikulik, Choreographer, had a challenging task of developing routines which conveyed the mood, but still gave the audience an entertaining evening of Musical Theatre and this she did eloquently.  The routines were broken down to suit the abilities of the performers and the great potential in the DOS ensemble shone through.

The costumes, hair and make-up were spot on for the period.  The scenery and props were moved around the stage by the cast and I think Stage Manager, Richard Concannon, must have developed a flair for choreography as chairs and desks flew on and off in time to the music and in keeping with the fast pace of the show.  Well done to the stage crew who ensured swift changing of the scenes as I can imagine that whilst we saw the ‘swan moving elegantly’ on stage there was some fast peddling being done in the wings.

Congratulations to everyone involved – a fun filled night of superb entertainment and hilarity.