9 to 5 The Musical
10th November 2017
Evans Theatre Wilmslow Leisure Centre
Type of Production
Author: Louise Colohan
A deliciously funny interpretation of the hit musical 9 to 5 resulted in a great belly laughing evening. There were no signs of humdrum life in this production, it was a laugh a second with some lovely intimate moments.
The directors vision was evident from the onset, the individuality of every person on stage made for the most interesting array of characters. Every ensemble group should be approached in this manner, that is only an opinion but it gives way for more colourful and real characters each having their own sets of reactions to a given scene. It also helped that each member was a hundred percent invested in the over-all vision for the production. Aside from doing great character work with the ensemble, the lead characters fulfilled their roles very well each understanding their own motivation and end goal.
Choreographer, Colette Desborough worked this cast hard, the effort was apparent and she worked with the ability of her cast. Creative routines, the train in the opening segment was very effective, I particularly loved the interpretation and routine in “Hart to Hart”, you really engaged the comedy through dance, it was a hoot.
Ed Nurse got a good sound from the cast. The band were balanced mostly with the odd underscore moment being slightly too loud, this I believe is a sound management issue rather than the band. All lead roles were confident in their delivery and Ed achieved a nice level of harmonies between the three leading ladies.
Tina Spiers as Violet Newstead played the most down -to-earth, sharp witted and hard-headed role. Her attention to detail within the role was excellent which allowed her to develop nicely as the show progressed. The vocal was strong but also pulled back when required. Her comedic ability shone in “Potion Notion” this was a great scene. It was a most enjoyable performance one that pulled on my heart strings. Doralee Rhodes was suitably played by Eileen Rawlinson, she has a nice rasp to her vocal which made it nice and country. A talented actress portrayed the role of Doralee, the desperate to be accepted well. “Backward Barbie” was moving and heartfelt, and “Cowgirls Revenge” showed another side completely, showing her as a great mover with a talent for comedy. Judy Burnley, brought to life by Ruth Moore, in a well-considered interpretation. Quirky, quick witted we saw a great character unfold before our eyes. Bringing nice emotion and good comedy to her role, it was easy to like this character. A lovely vocal, I did think “Get out and stay out” was beautiful, what a belter of a vocal in “Dance of Death”. All three girls worked extremely well together, it is key to the success of this show, they had good chemistry throughout.
Bradley Snelling as Franklin Hart Jr got the balance right in his role. A fantastic display of comedy, he had a great grasp on his character. His interaction with Doralee in “Here for you” was just hilarious. His reaction towards each of the dream scenes was well executed. Pleasure to watch him perform.
Roz Keith, Sophie Williams got so much from this role, she certainly read between the lines to develop her character. One of the best interpretations I felt, her comedic timing was spot on and she really went for it in her scenes. “Heart to Hart” was a personal highlight, the comedy jumped of the stage.
Russel Caulfield played a nice role as Joe, I felt he came to life in act two, his scene with Violet leading into “Let Love grow” saw lovely softness and realism develop. His delivery of the song was good, but the ending of the scene where he just stood beside Violet and placed his hand in hers was one of the loveliest moments of the evening.
Helen Lawrence gave great energy to the role of Margaret, this character ever- present, she reacted well within her scenes. A great character actress.
All other supporting roles were very well delivered and had a good impact on the production.
Visually this production was set on a large mostly bare stage, the use of projections was excellent achieving the desired effect. I really liked the reflection on the floor that the, windows in Hart’s office would have caused when the sun was shining, very effective. The set pieces moved in and out without any delay, I especially liked the office desks with great typewriters, these also worked very well in “Change it” when the reverse side had bright colours exposed to show a definite change to the décor.
Costumes and wigs were very good and of a high standard throughout. Judy’s opening costume/ hat looked very well. Violets quick change into the suit for “One of the Boys” worked very well and the overall look of this piece was glamourous.
Sound, maybe it was just the night I was in attendance but the sound quality was poor. The balance between off-stage singers and band was not good, we could hear standout voices in the choral numbers, who were not singing the melody. Judy suffered the loss of her mic prior to the end of act one, for most of “Gonna Shine like the Sun” she was unheard, which was a great pity as there are some fantastic harmonies for the girls in that number. I expect on the first night there are always technical issues but this was the middle of the run. This does not reflect on the performance for me however I do feel if a service is being paid for then it should be the best it can be.
Lighting on the other hand was excellent. The lighting plot simply stunning, beautiful spots created isolated moments for characters where needed. Ques were fast and I was suitably impressed by the overall effect they made to this stage.
I really enjoyed this production merely due to the individuality and the creativity displayed throughout. A job well done by AWMTC and production team. I look forward to my return visit in the New Year.