Review by: Paul Towers, 13 June 2016
9 to 5 by Dolly Parton & Patricia Resnick
Leicester Amateur Operatic Society
Curve Studio 13 – 19 June 2016
“Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5.”
Based on the film starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, 9 to 5 is the story of 3 office girls in a 1980’s humdrum corporation headed up by a ‘sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical, bigot’ Franklin Hart Jnr. The three girls, Violet, Judy and Doralee are pushed to the limit and fantasise about doing away with their boorish boss only to find that circumstances conspire to make his demise a real possibility. That leads, as they say, to hilarious consequences. Only in this show they don’t.
The leads, Debbie Longley as Violet, Lisa Heath as Judy, Mia Dobney as Doralee and Nick Cox as Hart do their best but the show is beset by a very uneven pace as the tempo constantly changes to facilitate the insertion of yet another song as the storyline veers from comedy to love story without doing either genre justice.
The ensemble perform perfectly adequately with a couple of nice dance routines but so much of the humour present in the film seems to have been lost in the translation to the stage.
As always LAOS, in conjunction with Curve, have got production values way beyond the average amateur show’s dreams; the costumes are varied and the cast change characters rapidly; there are huge revolving scenery blocks that become offices, bedrooms and studies. A live band hidden behind the backdrop sometimes drowns out parts of some of the solo numbers but I think that has much to do with unbalanced head microphones. However, a new innovation, small speakers across the front of the footlights, does make the sound much clearer from the audience.
Despite Ms Dolly Parton herself making a guest appearance on film at the beginning and end of the show it didn’t really work for me. Maybe the old school chauvinism rankled a bit with this reviewer but the audience on the first night didn’t seem as enthusiastic as I would have expected.
It’s a shame as LAOS has a fine reputation, as last year’s Sister Act proved. But somehow 9 to 5 doesn’t cut the mustard for me.
First published on Western Gazette