For someone who usually steers clear of musicals, the latest GADOC production of 9 to 5 left me surprised and humbled.
Perhaps my love of funky tunes helped me along this time – I was tapping my toes throughout.
The show opens with a blasting rendition of the titular song, interspersed with a projected video of the real Dolly Parton who welcomes the audience and sets the scene of the late 70s.
A seamless transition follows into the office of Consolidated Companies – a grey, male, and stale environment – where countless female secretaries sit and work surrounded by their male superior, who appeared to be doing nothing at all.
The main female trio (Naomi Leach, Ruby Tapp, and Danielle Allen) were expertly cast and showed off a variety of skills with their stage presence, singing, dancing and faultless American accents.
A particular highlight was their very strong rendition of ‘I Just Might’, with the empty stage drawing the focus in on them.
The first encounter with big boss Franklin Hart (Stephen Hansmann Rouxel) left me thinking “he’s awful”, but with an entertained grin on my face. His big booming voice and crass comments fit the bill of the “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” executive.
Roz Keith (Jodie Hicks) also deserves a mention for convincingly slipping into the role of Harts’ office snitch and admirer, with a suitably suspicious tone for anyone who challenged the office orthodoxy.
Pictured: The dancers flanking Roz Keith (centre). Credit: Tim Langlois.
After enjoying a joint, the main trio share their preferred visions of how they would murder Hart. This was amongst the funniest and visually engaging parts of the show. It’s made more peculiar when you stand back and see a glorification of gun violence, false imprisonment, and a poisoning.
These fantasy scenes were punctuated by a head spinning number of costume changes by the dancers, moving seemingly instantly from all being Roz (see above), to ballroom dancers, cowgirls, and princesses. Bravo to the costume department.
When the women finally oust their belligerent boss the newfangled progressive changes to the office are demonstrated through desk bunting, increasingly colourful blazers and plants scattered around. If only it was that easy.
The Chair of Consolidated is delighted to learn of a 20% increase in productivity through subsidised day care, flexible hours, and part-time initiatives, wringing home the core message of the show. Take note, States of Guernsey.
GADOC knocked it out the park once again with set design and props throughout. Director Lisa Johnston said most of the large pieces are built bespoke for the show and then dismantled and recycled at the end. Impressive.
I cynically waited the whole performance for someone to put a word or a foot wrong, but that moment never came.
The show runs until Saturday – enjoy it while you can.
Pictured (top): The cast. Credit: Tim Langlois.
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