09 Dec 2021

PICTURES | Longford Musical Society has worked 9 to 5 to produce brilliant feel-good show

St Mel's Musical Society puts on spectacular performance

Every year, the St Mel's Musical Society production is one of the highlights of Longford's entertainment calendar and this year was certainly no different.

The society produced the feelgood 9 to 5, with music and lyrics by popular country singer, Dolly Parton.

A total of nine performances brought local audiences to their feet in the Backstage Theatre as a stellar cast took to the stage night after night.

This year's musical was once again directed by Sean Power, who came to Longford last year to direct Sister Act.

A new musical director, Vince Tully, along with choreographer Tracey Carty of Evolution Stage School brought new life to the performance, which was a spectacular display of colour, thanks to set design by Eddie Kiernan and Robert Belton.

The musical tells the story of how Franklin Hart, a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot”, is taken down a few notches by three strong-willed female employees who have had enough.

Hart is put through hell by the three women as they fantasise about how they'll get rid of him - and only an actor with guts would take on the character. So it's a good thing Paul Hennessy was up for the hilarious role.

Read also: Longford's Paul Hennessy stepping into leading male role for 9 to 5

And he portrays the character perfectly as he drools over Doralee Rhodes (Eimear Reynolds), and attempes to walk over the rest of the women in the office.

It's only when Doralee, Violet Newstead (Valerie Nolan) and Judy Bernly (Natasha Brady) decide they've had enough that the real fun begins.

Violet is the older lady in the office, hoping to take a step up in her career but, when passed over for promotion in favour of a male employee, she decides she's had enough of making coffee for her boss and dreams up her revenge.

She's not alone, though. When Dolly Parton-inspired character, Doralee, finds out that Hart has been falsely telling the whole office she's sleeping with him, she decides to step up and prove that there's brains under all that hair - and a heart under all that chest.

Read also: Eimear Reynolds channels her inner Dolly Parton for St Mel's Musical Society, Longford production of 9 to 5

These roles are expertly portrayed by Valerie and Eimear whose outstanding voices really brought the characters to life.

But it was Natasha Brady who really struck a chord with this Longford Leader reporter.

Natasha took on the role of Judy, the new girl in the office who is forced to find work after her husband runs off with his 19-year-old secretary.

Starting out as a sad, quiet character, it's Judy's transformation from the start of the show to the end that really stands out.

Judy goes from a broken-hearted girl to a strong, independent woman who doesn't need her ex-husband hanging around anymore.

It's a role that really lets Natasha show of the full extent of her performance skills, with excellent acting and an incredible voice really bringing out the best in the character of Judy.

Read also: Natasha working round the clock for St Mel's Musical Society's production of 9 to 5 in Longford's Backstage Theatre

There are some hilarious exchanges throughout the show as the three main women kidnap their boss, hang him from his own bedroom ceiling with his own chains - yes, you read that right - and proceed to take over the running of the office, making things better for the female employees.

There are plenty of other noteworthy people in the show too. Gráinne Fox really provided some extra comedy in her role as Roz Keith, the secretary who is madly in love with Franklin Hart and who, as a result, spends her time trying to catch out the other women in the office.

Conor Lynn-McLoughlin does an excellent job in the role of Violet's love interest, Joe, while Iarlaith O'Rourke plays the role of Josh Newstead - Violet's teenage son who keeps telling her she needs to relax, smoke a joint and start dating.

Read also: The countdown is over as 9 to 5 opening night looms in Longford's Backstage Theatre

Cormac Gobl was excellent in Sister Act last year as one of the gangsters and, this year, takes on the role of Doralee's supportive husband, Dwayne. And, of course, long-term society member John Kelly made a cameo appearance as Tinsworthy.

Overall, St Mel's Musical Society can be really proud of the hard work and effort that went into this year's production. It was a real feel-good show that had audiences laughing all night.

PICTURES | St Mel's Musical Society officially launches 9 to 5 in Longford Rugby Club

Pictures: Shelley Corcoran

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