9 to 5 The Musical

Date 26th March 2022
Society Kingsbridge Amateur Theatrical Society
Venue Malborough Village Hall
Type of Production Musical
Director Carey Ryan-Carter
Musical Director Julian Ronnie
Choreographer Carey Ryan-Carter
Producer KATS
Written By Dolly Parton and Patricia Resnick

Report

Author: Iain Douglas

It was a very warm welcome back for KATS who were so cruelly impacted by the initial onslaught of the Covid pandemic when they had to cancel Whistle Down the Wind just a week before production in March 2020. Sadly they were unable to resurrect that show but this proved a very worthy replacement and suited them admirably. 

I have a liking for this musical as I directed one of the earlier SW productions after its initial release to amateurs back in 2017. 

Based on the non musical movie of the same title, it is certainly a beast of the 80s (from whence the movie dates) and the themes contained in the story might not rest easy with some, these being sexual harassment within the office environment, male domination at work, women's equality (or lack thereof) in the workplace and how our three female lead characters turn the tables on their boss and turn the show into a fantastical feminist revenge story. To ensure these themes are palatable to the audience , the show sometimes descends into comic lewdness with broad brash splashes of humour and, as one critic said, it takes the view that it is OK to leer if you wink at your own prurience.

The star of the show is very definitely the musical score by Dolly Parton, closely followed by the grandstanding roles of the three leading ladies. 

There are many scenes in this show, and KATS once again came up trumps with a superbly designed multi purpose set which allowed the production to move very swiftly from scene to scene at a great pace with only a very few pauses here and there. The setting spilled over onto the floor space in front of the stage, effectively doubling the playing area, and the 5 piece band was situated to one side to enable this to happen. 

This show allows for much company work in the office scenes and Carey's staging and choreography showed great imagination and ingenuity with much activity and business and great characterisation among the company. There was absolutely nothing static or uninteresting about this production. 

The show relies very heavily on the three female lead characters and KATS struck gold with this casting. Jules McColl played Violet, the long serving staff member with a chip on her shoulder, with great energy and strength, but also affording us a look at the more sensitive side of her character. Her growing affection for,and relationship with, a much younger male colleague is the dramatic ploy that stops Violet becoming too strident.

Bella Howling hit the spot as Judy, the green gilled new recruit, newly divorced and hesitant about starting out alone. This character gains in confidence as the show progresses and Bella captured this perfectly. Her final rejection of her philandering ex crowns her re-invention. 

Sally Feetenby played the Dolly Parton role of Doralee, mistaken for the bosses bit on the side, but ultimately showing that there is more than just blond hair and an ample bosom. She was perfect for this role.

All three characters have grand standing musical numbers and all three delivered in spades. 

Tom Chadwick was excellent as the seedy unlikeable office boss Franklin Hart who eventually gets his come comeuppance. There is much comedy to be extracted from this role but he also captured perfectly the rather nasty side as well. 

Franklin Hart has an unlikely admirer in the office busybody Roz. Caroline Hall extracted every ounce of humour and her big number in which she reveals an unexpected sexy side was very well done. 

Joe, the younger colleague who ends up with Violet, was given a nice gentle touch by Ben Tyne. I did miss his lovely solo, but by giving this to three of the office ladies , it took on a lovely gentle feel and allowed the 2 characters to show emotion that they might otherwise have missed if they were concentrating on the song. 

The more prominent office characters of Kathy (Freya Harrow), Maria (Apple Taylor) and Margaret (Caroline Forcer) were all well played and given much more prominence than usual. 

All the other roles were well handled and there were no weak links at all in a very strong cast. There weren't many men, but it mattered not as this is principally a women's show.

Julian Ronnie re-scored the show for 5 players and there was excellent musical accompaniment. The band supported without every over powering and had just the right feel for Dolly Parton's music. 

KATS can always be relied upon to provide first class entertainment prepared by very able production teams and this show was no exception at all. Creative staging was very evident and I enjoyed it all immensely. 

I have seen a number of amateur productions of this show and I have to say that this was very definitely by far the best.