Review: 9 to 5, Derby Theatre

In the 1970s ‘the boys’ ruled the roost in the office and ‘the women’ were expected to make the tea, run errands and endure the more than amorous advances of their boss.

Not surprising then that Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 with its girl power message was such a big hit when it first smashed on to the screen as a movie in 1980 and also later when it was adapted as a stage musical.

More surprising is the sad fact that almost four decades on the scenario will still resonate with many women.

We may have come a long way towards achieving the women’s wish list of flexible hours, workplace childcare and equal wages, but sexism and male domination of the boardroom still lurk in our society.

Maybe that’s partly why the Good Companions Stage Society performance of the feel-good musical received such rapturous applause from the audience in Derby last night.

The other reason will certainly be that the amateur performers staged a fabulous show with lively choreography, quality vocals and great music.

There were a few first night niggles with sound and scenery, but the enthusiastic team overcame them all with big grins and the odd giggle. With so many scene changes there was bound to be a hiccup or two but most of the backstage work was amazingly slick.

The story revolves around three city secretaries who, pushed to boiling point by their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical, bigot of a boss Franklin Hart Jr, forge an uneasy alliance and live out their pot-fuelled fantasies to get rid of him. Having kidnapped him and tied him up in his own home they return to the office to take charge and give their workplace a dream makeover.

The story might be more than a little cheesy but it is great fun and Dolly Parton’s tunes will have you toe-tapping in no time.

The girl power trio were played by Deborah McPherson, as Violet Newstead the office ‘mother’ overlooked for promotion; Louise Simcox in the Dolly Parton role of Doralee Rhodes, the object of Hart’s desire and Anna Cousins, as the newbie to the office scene, Judy Bernly. All three gave strong confidence performances and were well cast.

Emma Woodyet, who played Roz Keith, the devoted assistant with more than a crush on her boss, also deserves a special mention – especially for her terrific rendition of Heart to Hart.

Damon Hatton’s take on the slime-ball boss was an absolute scream and he delighted the audience with his hilarious solo Here For You, which involved a lot of pelvic thrusting. I suspect he won’t be sorry when he doesn’t make those moves any more after Saturday.

The rest of the huge cast were Andrew Buxton, Adam Woodyet, Louise Curd, Cameron Trail, Phil Stanley, Rob Chilton, Ellie Mallinson, Helen Perry, Ruth Plant, Josh Robinson, Angela Plant, Lisa Scott-Savage, Adela Green, Kit Jones, Clementine Morley, Cat Howourth, Sarah Evans-Bolger, Emily Cooper, Ollie Hand, Paul Brenham-Foster, Brian Counter, Scott Mill, Tricia O’Reilly, Gary Rowley and Charlie Torry.

The director was Phil Simcox, the musical director was Dave Adey, the choreographer Pauline Reader and the  stage manager was Steve Cole. The music and lyrics were by Dolly Parton and the book by Patricia Resnick.

You still have a chance to go and see the show, which is on at 7.30pm each night and also at 2.30pm on Saturday make sure you don’t miss it and book a ticket now they are selling fast. Go to http://www.derbytheatre.co.uk for details.

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