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When you go to see KATS perform in Malborough Village Hall, you might not expect to hear gunshots, or see a man in stockings and suspenders and a naked bum? Or if you do, you go to much more exciting parties than I do!
Kingsbridge Amateur Theatrical Society put on Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 The Musical this week, and it was brilliant.
Back after a two-year hiatus, with lockdown ruining their run of Whistle Down the Wind just one week before curtain up, the cast were really ready and raring to go.
9 to 5 The Musical focusses on three women working in an office in the 1970s, the head office supervisor Violet (Jules McColl), the glamorous but misunderstood Doralee (Sally Feetenby) and the newly-divorced, new employee Judy (Bella Howling).
The three women hatch a plan to get their own back on their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” of a boss Franklin Hart Jr (Tom Chadwick) and while they’re at it, drag their office and their company into the 20th century.
All four of the main characters were played expertly. If you have been following KATS for the past few years you will already be familiar with the work of Jules McColl and Sally Feetenby, but Bella Howling was new to the spotlight and was exceptional. It didn’t take more than a couple of words into her first solo in I Just Might for you to say to yourself, “oh sh*t, she can really sing”.
Jules McColl was funny and compelling as Violet (and earned herself an extra round of applause for an almost perfect bullseye when playing darts with Franklin Hart’s photo) and her acting was skilled and subtle throughout.
Sally Feetenby mastered the lilting Texan accent that Dolly Parton herself made so famous and she gave Doralee such a confidence and swagger that it made you fall in love with her from almost the first scene.
Tom Chadwick played a 70s “old-boys-club” letch exceptionally well and you pretty much despised Franklin Hart Jr from the moment you met him, while he also made you crease with laughter, which is a hard line to walk. I must also say Tom definitely has the legs for stockings and suspenders too!
While every member of the cast deserves praise, not one of them let the side down, I can only mention a couple besides the main characters. Caroline Forcer played a drunk Margaret to perfection, Caroline Hall got the biggest applause of the night for her hilarious (and very sexy) rendition of Heart to Hart and Freya Harrow’s (Kathy) voice is beautiful.
Nate Fox, who played Dwayne, also deserves a mention for not only his acting but for his…performance in the hospital scene.
Complimenting the whole cast was the live music, provided by Julian Ronnie - MD and keyboard, Kathy Kenny - keyboard, Matt Cook - guitar, Andy Tunbridge - bass and Adam Ryan Carter - drums. Also, I’m not sure if the band were also responsible for the sound effects, but during the gunshots, the timing was as near perfect as perfect gets.
It is not just the acting and music that brings a KATS production alive, but the behind the scenes team too. All of whom deserve to be very highly commended. The set design (Jill Brock) in particular was incredible. The way that one object being turned or moved or unfolded to instantly change the stage from an office to a living room, to a bed and back again was outstanding and must have taken weeks to plan and create.
9 to 5 The Musical was new to me but it is a highly entertaining, funny, touching, heart-warming, feminist powerhouse that deserves to be a classic, and the KATS team did it real justice.
Now excuse me while I go and download the whole album onto my Spotify…
There are still some tickets left for tomorrow night (Saturday, 26 March), if you want to see 9 to 5 The Musical for yourself, visit the WEBSITE.
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