9 to 5, Yeovil Amateur Operatic Society at the Octagon

DOLLY Parton’s musical version of the hit film 9 to 5 could hardly be more timely than in the week of Weinstein in the tenure of Trump – I dare you to say that shows about sexist, bullying, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigots are dated!

The film was released in 1980, and the story was re-imagined for the stage in 2009. It’s one of those shows that is glitteringly brilliant – in parts. There are great songs and glitzy set-piece scenes, but it fizzles out in a rushed ending, and no amount of talent can save it.  I first saw it on Broadway with Alison Janney, and came away with the same impression as I did at Yeovil Octagon, that there is a very good musical in here, waiting to get out.

The talented Yeovil company, directed for the first time by Martyn Knight and again under the baton of Lynne Merrifield, suffered from an awkward and clunky set and a crew unfamiliar with its requirements.

The three central roles (originally created by Ms Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda) are played absolutely brilliantly by Sarah Symcox, Karen Pankhurst and Jennifer Holland-Brewer, with Liz Stallard on their heels as the devoted Roz.  Jay Westaway captured the odiousness of Hart, but I would like to have seen him clean shaven and smoother. His fantasy on Doralee is a hoot.

There is so much to praise in this show, from slick dance routines to heartfelt solos, and that overriding conviction that as far as sexism and inequality in the workplace is concerned, the more it changes, the more it stays the same.

It is worth getting a ticket to hear Sarah Symcox do her country thang,  to watch Jennifer find her voice and to see what a great CEO Karen will be.

The YAOS  9 to 5 is on until Saturday 14th October. The opening night was almost full, so book soon.


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