9 to 5 The Musical, The Abbey Theatre, Nuneaton, until October 27.
You need to check in your aversion to sexism at the door, and accept this period piece
for what it is then enjoy a night of good songs and girls coming out on top in this fast-
In their 98th year, the Nuneaton Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society have chosen
to perform this challenging musical of the film made famous by Dolly Parton, and set
in the 70s. In an age of #Me Too it’s difficult not to cringe as you watch the boss
ogling his secretary as she climbs up steps, and lying that he’s slept with her, but
luckily the play soon moves on to the female friendship themes at its core.
Office newcomer Judy (the stunning-voiced Jenny Barlow-Jennings), is taken under
the wing of capable office boss Violet (Karen Jones, another strong voice), and soon
they are conspiring with Texan darling Doralee to get the better of their bigoted boss
Hart, played in an admirably cringe-making way by NAODS director Kevin Benson.
Not everyone is against him though, as Hart also has to see off the attentions of his
lustful secretary Roz (Clare Benson).
In a fun song and dance sequence the three friends all fantasise about getting rid of
him in different ways, then suddenly find themselves in charge of the company after
all – but for how long? Doralee (Vicky Reilly, in fine song and brave costumes),
holds the gang together with her charm and sweetness.
There may have been some first night nerves amongst the large and varied ensemble
which showed in some quiet entrances to songs and uncertain dancing. But overall it’s
a fun night of catchy songs with some strong characters mastering the lead roles.