9 to 5, and boy at times did it feel like it. Brought to life by Blackpool and Fylde Light Opera Company, this musical, with music written by Dolly Parton, failed to live up to its famous creator despite the best efforts of the talented amateur cast.
The story centers round the lives of three women in a misogynistic work place, with a boss that is “sexist, egotistical, lying, and hypocritical”. One night the women begin to imagine how they would love to get rid of their boss, and while making his morning coffee one of the girls mistakes rat poison for Skinny ‘n’ Sweet. A whirlwind of musical social justice within the workplace ensues.
The musical starts with a rendition of Dolly Parton’s famous 9 to 5, and to say the harmonies were all over the place would be an understatement. As this lackluster rendition concluded it set an unfortunate precedent for a show that only got worse. Comedic lines fell flat, dancing was off cue, and time and time again the off key harmonies came into play.
At several points during the songs I heard the conductor shouting out cues to both the actors on stage and the orchestra (who did a exceptional job despite this added pressure). Now I have both been in, and seen, many productions but never have I heard a conductor bark out orders to anyone. It made the whole experience very distracting and difficult to watch.
I must however make note of some of commendable performances by the three ladies who took on the lead roles of the show; Lisa Beardsall (Violet), Amy Atkinson (Doralee), and Nikita Coulon (Judy). Although at times I found some nuances of their performances to be bland, their singing talent did make up for it.
I should also applaud Amy Lewise Spurgeon who took on the role of ‘Roz’. Her performance of ‘Hart to Heart’ was hilarious and carried over to the audience who were in hysterics while watching the spread eagle take place on the bosses table.
It should be said that the amateur cast did give one hundred percent, however, I think that what ultimately led to the problems in the show were the directions given to the actors. Unfortunately, poor choices resulted in a show that failed to hit the mark which otherwise had the potential to be a very funny production. It is of course possible I simply caught a particularly poor showing, it happens.
Overall, despite my experience of this particular performance, I would still recommend people to go and watch the show and form your own opinion. I would also very much like to see the next production this theatre company puts on, to hopefully be proven wrong.
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