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9 to 5 as presented by Naas Musical Society


The Moat Theatre, Naas. Co Kildare

Adjudication Performance Sunday 10th March 2024 

It was Mother's Day 10th March 2024 on the evening I arrived in Naas and I was looking forward to this Society's show, their 29th since the foundation of this Musical Society in 1995. A most enchanting, glamorous and beautiful lady, Mrs Mona Conroy, President of the Society and founder in 1995 greeted me so warmly. I immediately felt very much at home and so very welcome. Ms Conroy I soon discovered is a lady with a fondness for bling and diamonds, with the twinkliest of eyes, and it was an absolute joy to be in her company and chat. The Moat Theatre is a gem. Very warm, cosy, and welcoming, I was immediately in awe of the " Family " atmosphere here in this Society and brought to my seat in the auditorium.

The Director of this production was Ms Sharon McNamara. This show had a lovely flow from the moment the curtain lifted. This is a small stage and space, yet nobody ever seemed too busy or too cramped, and the stage was nearly always full of great energy. I adored the clever use of placing the Orchestra up on a specifically built Mezzanine level back of the stage. This was very clever. And it worked well. The development of the characters was exciting. Ms McNamara managed to get every ounce of individual personalities to the fore. From the egotistical, sexist, lying, hypocritical, sleazy, and bullish boss Franklin D Hart to the magnificent contrast indeed of the ladies who worked for him. Ms McNamara had a lovely vision in her direction, creating a mix of characters and an aesthetically pleasing visual for the audience. There was an element of fun, too, in the scene with Mr. Hart tied to the bedposts in his pyjamas, which drew a great laugh from the audience. Great visuals and direction here in this scene also. This was a story of life in the 1970s; however – you also created the story and made it relevant to today's audience. Very commendable, well done.

The Musical Director was Ms Mairead McKenna. Such a high-energy show in places and it never waned in the upbeat songs such as “9-5” and “Change It”. The harmonies were very tight here, and the accompaniment in this number was emotional. It was a great tempo, keeping the high-energy vibe. The duet with Violet and Joe, “Let Love Grow,” was a musical highlight; the empathy shown by the Orchestra here was palpable. A beautiful number. From the beginning of the show with the iconic anthemic opening number, 9-5, to the more introspective solos, “Get Out and Stay Out” (Judy), were executed with precision and a lovely emotional depth. The Orchestra throughout under the Musical Directors baton great enhanced each individual character and the full ensemble in all musical numbers. I loved your style, and your Musical Direction and Orchestra greatly enhanced this show. It was a joy to listen to you throughout.

The choreographer was Grace McGrath. This was a small stage, yet there was fantastic energy and intricate choreography. I loved the use of desks, chairs, and other props cleverly built into the dance numbers. In most cases throughout the show, every dance number added to the story in such a positive way. The choreography here adds so much depth to the story, but also adds to the beautiful energy required for the show and maintains it, creating showstopping moments throughout such as “Potion Notion” which was excellent. It was the number “Around Here” with Violet and the Ensemble in Act 1 that for me personally stole the show. The Choreography here by Ms McGrath added another layer to the life and story with lovely empathy towards the tale, but also with heart—an absolute treat through and through.

The Stage Manager was Bob O’Kelly. The sets were very clever. I liked the use of the stage's height and width, given its small area backstage. The projection screen used for Dolly Parton's message worked exceptionally well. The steps on either side of the stage worked well, enabling great height, depth, and multifunctional uses. Underneath these stairs allowed ample use of space again for different scenes. The stage for Franklin D’ Hart's office, and the bookshelf or mini library appeared very cleverly underneath the arch of the stairs. This multifunctional piece serves various purposes throughout the show, allowing smooth transitions between the scenes. This approach by the team showed how versatile the set was without unnecessary interruptions. Great work.

Sound was Aidan Cooney's responsibility for Apollo Productions and was well managed. The balance between the live Orchestra and the vocal performances was well maintained, ensuring that the many catchy tunes and witty lyrics were delivered with outstanding clarity and impact The sound was vital and played a pivotal role in the roles of Violet Judy and Doralee and bringing them to life, as their songs had so many messages, emotions, and strength that it is important that the balance here was right, and it most certainly was. Well done to all involved in this area.

Lighting was the responsibility of Conor Sweeney and was another highlight which added great depth and dynamic. Gorgeous colours such as spotlights used very skilfully throughout underscored the mood of each scene, transitioning so very smoothly from the oppressive office environment to the more driven moments and musical numbers. The lighting beautifully and intensely mirrored the characters' journeys and changes during the story. I must say I loved the “Dream Sequence,” where the imaginative lighting effects from the lovely deep blues changed to the beautiful bright yellows on the stage floor during Doralee’s number “Cowgirls Revenge,” which I loved. The lighting changes here created a surreal experience diving into each character's visions of empowerment, strength, and revenge! Well done lighting team.

Costumes by Kate O’Connell and Orla Murphy were most effective. Given that this show takes place in the late 1970s to early 1980s, this period must be illustrated in the Costumes, Makeup, Wigs / Hair, and Props. I loved the costumes in this show. The women's pencil skirts, power suits, ruffled blouses, and the men's suits and ties were all very appropriate. I particularly liked the costumes of Violet, Judy, and Doralee, which reflected their personalities. A stand-out costume for me was that of Margaret, both in costume and props, wig, and hair. She was a glorious character in all of these areas. From the bird's nest of a head of hair in the opening when we meet her, drunk and dizzy and not being aware of where or who she was with her skirt tucked into her underwear and with all the pens in her hair and her makeup to the woman who went to Rehab and got help and returned a new woman, fabulous looking, marvellous business suit, gorgeous hair, and impeccable makeup. This is where the whole area of visuals was an absolute highlight, and it was fantastically done for me. Costumes for the Dream Sequence were also fabulous.

I loved the props. Such attention to detail was remarkable, mentioning the photocopier and the marvellous telephones, to mention but one or two. This show had many props, with the minute detail enhancing the story and the era. Superb work by the props teams here; well done.

Hair and Makeup. One word. Fabulous. Every character, including the Chorus and Ensemble, had the most intricate, detailed, and beautiful hairstyles, magnificence, and attention to detail in every person on stage. The hair consistently on every single person was outstanding. Each individual was a creation. Hours of work must have gone into perfecting the Makeup and hair for this show. I could go on, but this area was highly influential, beautifully done, visually enchanting, and appropriate. I congratulate you all in this area because it was one of the most vital elements of the show. Bravo.

Julie Donnelly played the part of Violet. I loved you! A gorgeous part played beautifully by Ms Donnelly. I loved the sharpness of your wit and your sense of justice (taking Judy under your wing), and you are just a lovely person overall with the drive and vision of a person capable of taking over the Company yet had humour and sharpness of tongue that endeared me to you immediately. I loved your relationship with your teenage son. Just lovely. You had a lovely soft side, and yet you were a fierce, good worker with a strong belief in what is right. Vocally, you had a marvellous voice. “Around Here” was simply a show of your leadership qualities, and the lovely “One of The Boys” was simply gorgeous and beautifully sung. This role has so many aspects, and you played it beautifully. You were so strong on stage, an essential character with an enormous talent. This was a significant part for you, Ms Donnelly. I enjoyed every second. Congratulations.

Claire O’Reilly played Judy's part. I loved you! Ms O’Reilly, a gorgeous part for you. Your vocal was immense. I can still hear you singing “Get Out and Stay Out,” a powerhouse performance of a powerful vocal telling a story from the heart, living it and breathing it, and having the courage to stand alone and not be treated the way you had been before by your husband, Dick. Appropriate name! There was a gorgeous rapport between Violet and Doralee. You had such a lovely bond on stage. It was beautiful to watch. And yet, there was humour. Great costume, fabulous hair, and a beautiful character indeed, Ms O’Reilly. Last but not least, “Get Out and Stay Out” was a highlight of the show for me. Congratulations on the beautiful part you marvellously played.

Niamh O’Carroll played Doralee. I loved you too! You have a fabulous stage presence, a wonderful drawl in your accent, a horrible boss who treated you appallingly, and a tremendous vocal and visual throughout. You were so ditzy in the beginning despite working for the boss from hell, Mr Hart, but you kept smiling even when the girls mistreated you as they thought you were having an affair with Mr Hart. Gorgeous vocals and fabulous costumes, “Cowgirls Revenge” was brilliant, with “Backwoods Barbie” and “Change It” all sung and danced and acted wonderfully. You were a gorgeous Doralee who sang and acted beautifully and had a lovely stage presence. Bravo, Ms O’Carroll. The magnificent part played with such strength, musicality, and aplomb.

Gill O’Brien played Roz Keith's part—the office snitch. Great role. You played the part of the obsessively loyal employee of the egotistical and sexist boss, Mr Franklin Hart Jr. You were pretty funny in this role in your complete infatuation with him, always looking for affection and approval even though it is not reciprocated. There was a marked contrast in your acting and your infatuation compared to your relationship with Violet, Doralee, and Judy. Although co-workers, you most definitely were not friends, and the contrast was played accordingly. There were also beautiful comedic moments, with “Heart to Hart” and “5-9” singing wonderfully well. I did enjoy you in this quirky role, which you made your own, Ms O’Brien—well done.

Andrew Docherty played the part of Franklyn D Hart. Wow. You were simply wonderful in this role, Mr Docherty. From the beginning, your acting, comedic timing, and facial expressions won me over. Your egotistical sexist bullying character was played so wonderfully well. It was your eyes that created this role, and your facial expressions were what made it successful. You were constantly dismissive, hot, and bothered, treating your staff with disdain and yet ogling Doralee and giving her presents; you were married to your poor, suffering wife throughout and were equally as dismissive to her when she was with you. You were just simply horrible. Rude. And sexist. Which makes you a great actor indeed, which is what you were. There are so many scenes where your character shines in complete contrast to your employees. You were just a big bumbling mess of rudeness and condescending bad manners, a bully, a horrible person all around who got their comeuppance in the end. You played a blinder in this role, Mr Docherty—a stand-out element in this show of success and talent.

The parts of Kathy, Margaret, and Maria were played by Teresa Lynch, Sue Kelly & Maria Delgado, respectively. These parts added to the overall success of running the office from an audience point of view: very well cast, super costumes, and indeed casting in these roles. Kathy you were a fantastic office gossip. Each of you looked great, with fabulous costumes but a lovely stage presence and talent with roles cast wonderfully. You all had a fantastic stage presence and added enormously to the overall story with your clever stage movement and acting. Lovely parts, each of them, and well done.

The part of Russell Tinsworthy Chairman of the Board at Consolidated was played by Rick Kearns. A lovely role and Mr Kearns I personally was delighted to see you arrive on stage and start putting people in their places rapidly!. (Mr Hart!) but also your character was emphatic towards the girls plight. You were the character that enabled the ending of the story to be a happy one and although a small role, it indeed was very important. You looked great, and lovely diction. A lovely actor Mr Kearns. Well done.

The part of Josh was played by Daniel Flynn. Lovely character. Such a lovely bond with your Mam Violet whom you adored her and she you. There was a carefree attitude to your character and an ease about you that meant you glided around the stage with ease in each scene. You had a unique charm about you that was lovely. You were sincere and yet funny. Great role played very well Mr Flynn well done.

The part of Joe was played by Tom Joyce. A strong performance. Lovely vocal. And your acting brought a sense of warmth to the stage. You made this part yours Mr Joyce and you made it unforgettable. You had a lovely rapport with other cast members a likeable and supportive colleague and friend. “Let Love Grow” was a truly commendable performance in your duet with Violet and again when the girls asked you for help in nailing Mr Hart you were there, help, were a friend, got involved and had their backs. A lovely performance, with you really coming into your own in the lovely duet.

The part of Dick was played by Rory Chadwick. Judy’s soon-to-be ex-husband. “Dick” being a good choice of name for this sleazebag character that was yours. You had a cockiness about you that made the audience believe you really could come back when things didn’t work out and Judy would welcome you with open arms. When she didn’t, and stood her ground “Get Out and Stay Out” I wanted to applaud – loudly. Your acting here was excellent. Great character.

The part of Dwayne was played by Conor MacNamee. Doralee’s lovely husband. A loving husband besotted with your lovely wife you looked great together with a lovely onstage chemistry that worked very well. Lovely diction, easy movement around the stage and a gorgeous partner for Doralee. Great costume, and a truly lovely supportive husband. Great role for you. Well done.

Charlene Masterson played the role of the Detective. Creating initially an element of fear, this part was played well. Lovely air of authority and questioning. I could feel the atmosphere change palpably when you were so close to the girls and their kidnapping of Mr Hart. Good costume and good diction.

John Dooley played the role of the Cop. And the Candy Stripper was played by Aoife Moroney. Mr Dooley a role very well played role again stern and played the part well alongside your co-worker Ms Masterson as Detective. Again very authoritative with very good diction. Well cast.

This was an absolutely gorgeous chorus. Lovely harmonies and lovely balance. Particular mention to the lovely numbers “Shine Like the Sun” “Joy to the Girls”, “Change It” to mention but a few throughout this big musical numbers show. I looked forward to you coming on stage. There was a lovely balance between tenors altos bass and sopranos and it was obvious a lot of days and weeks of rehearsals went into the creating the gorgeous epiphany of sound that you created throughout without fail. Bravo to each of you.

This evening was filled with laughter and an excellent showcase of local talent on stage and behind the scenes. Your group gave me a lovely sense of family and community and I was made to feel most welcome by you all.

Thank you for a most wonderful evening’s entertainment and long may you continue to wow your audiences with joy, song and laughter.

Thank you for making my Mother’s Day evening so joyful.

Caroline Daly Jones

Sullivan Adjudicator 2024


Aishling Conway - (Promo / Off-stage)

Paul O Rourke - (Performance Photos)


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