REVIEW: 9 to 5 the musical, Lancaster

Franklin Hart Junior (played by Ray Jenkinson) is tied up and held captive by (left to right)  Judy (Hannah Morris),  Doralee (Sophie Butler), Violet (Alison Birtle) as part of the 9 to 5 musical by Morecambe Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (MAODS). Picture by John Atkinson.
Franklin Hart Junior (played by Ray Jenkinson) is tied up and held captive by (left to right) Judy (Hannah Morris), Doralee (Sophie Butler), Violet (Alison Birtle) as part of the 9 to 5 musical by Morecambe Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (MAODS). Picture by John Atkinson.

Raucous, racy, rumBUSTious - Lancaster’s Grand Theatre can’t have experienced too many eye-popping amateur productions on this scale, as an office full of Dolly Partons threw off their inhibitions, and a little more besides, to strike a blow for women.

9 to 5, with music and lyrics by the legendary country and western star, posed a serious challenge for Morecambe Amateurs but, boy, (perhaps that should read girl) did they accept it with gusto and panache, under the imaginative tutelage of director and choreographer Steve Chesters.

This was the spectacular demise of the sexist, bigoted, seedy company boss, who got a deserved comeuppance when his downtrodden female employees staged an uprising.

Their solution: kidnap the fella and run the place themselves, to prove they were better at it.

And they were!

The society can be proud of their achievement in interpreting such a fast moving, action-packed production.

And a special word of praise for those who were obliged to parade their attributes in various stages of dress and undress.

The four main characters took the theatre by storm – they were inspired choices, with strong character studies and marvellous singing talents.

So take a bow Alison Birtle, Sophie Butler and Hannah Morris – quite wonderful as the three main female protagonists – and, of course, Ray Jenkinson, the hated boss, oozing lasciviousness and oceans of politically incorrect nastiness.

Gail Bowskill transformed brilliantly from prim secretary into slinky, scantily clad day-dreamer while the excellent James Shield’s singing voice recalled the Susan Boyle, I have a Dream Moment.

A special word too for the orchestra, under musical director Joanne Jeffreys – tip top form.

Review by Mike Whalley.

9 to 5 the musical.

Lancaster Grand Theatre.