9 to 5 by Cygnet Players
9 to 5 by Cygnet Players
9 to 5 is a musical which transports you back to the 70’s when the old boys club was rife, where bosses having affairs (or at least attempting to) with their secretaries was common place and flexible working meant the positions the secretaries had to get themselves into to please their boss. The musical is by Dolly Parton, not your usual suspect for the equal rights movement figurehead but nonetheless she takes the message and carries it throughout the show.
In 9 to 5 we meet 3 very different women. Violet who is widowed and determine to be promoted; Judy who has never had to work until her husband left her for his secretary and Doralee, created in Dolly Parton’s image: blonde, busty and fed up of being judged on her looks. Their hatred for their boss Mr Hart sees them bond until they finally get the opportunity to see what life could be like if women ran the world, well at least the office!
Cygnet Players is fortunate to have a formidable trio of women take on these roles. Jamie Miller-Hughes is a strong Texan cowgirl who does Dolly herself proud. Her accent never waivers, she uses her body to maximum effect whilst managing to convince the audience that is inside that counts. Such the impact she had on me that it was one of her songs, ‘Backwoods Barbie’ that I left singing rather than the ear worm 9 to 5.
Kate Chesworth played Violet. Chesworth was slightly young for the part with the references to the good old days but nonetheless portrayed her superior status and knowledge to the other women in the office well. Charlotte Donald finished the trio as Judy. She had a nice vulnerability and awkwardness about her and knew how to time her comedy well. Her big number ‘Get Out And Stay Out’ deservedly drew cheers from the audience. The moments where these 3 women were on stage together fronting a number were consistently high standard and really stood out.
Freddy Bowne as Joe gave a heartwarming and sincere performance and I was willing him and Violet to get together throughout. The ensemble were strong vocally and all of the women in the office had lovely individual characteristics. Sometimes it may have been beneficial to just choreograph for the stronger dancers in the company and feature them more heavily whilst the rest of the ensemble were used in other ways. The stage at times looked cramped when the whole cast was dancing and selective use of dancers and better use of spacing may have also assisted with this issue.
Part of the difficulty with the show is that it requires many set changes including numerous desks in office scenes. The use of a separate area for Mr Hart’s office was a good one however movement on and off the main playing area, especially with set needed more thought. The use of boxes on wheels was a good idea in theory but scene changes felt panicked. Instead of trying to rush a scene change where several desks are needed it would have been possible to make a feature of it and choreograph it into the beginning of each scene. It was also distracting that the door stage left had a bright light behind it, pulling focus each time it was opened.
In 9 to 5 Cygnet Players have produced a fun show, once that managed to get across the humour whilst never loosing sight of the true message of the show. If you are looking for a fun night out with a bit of girl power then 9 to 5 is a good bet, especially when you have Chesworth; Miller-Hughes and Donald at the helm.
Find out more about Cygnet Players and their upcoming shows by checking out their website.