★★★★ | 9 to 5 the Musical
- (C) Photo Pamela Raith
Dolly, no last name needed, brings to the West End the musical of her huge song and hit film 9 to 5, and it’s a hoot!
How could we forget the film, which starred Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda as secretaries at Consolidated Companies who turn the tables on their misogynistic boss? The song has endured more so than the 1980 film, so it’s perfect that it’s been turned into a musical.
9 to 5 the Musical had a brief Broadway run in 2009 and finally it’s here in London at The Savoy Theatre. Natalie McQueen is just about perfect and a dead ringer for Parton in the role of Doralee Rhodes, secretary to the flirting and very handsy boss Franklin Hart Jr. (a very good and game Brian Conley). Amber Davies is in the Jane Fonda role as Violet Newstead, who is newly divorced and finds herself starting a new job at Consolidated, while Caroline Sheen is Lily Tomlin in the role of Judy Bernly, who has worked at the firm for years yet keeps on missing out on promotions that go to men. One day Judy accidentally puts rat poison in Mr Hart’s coffee (or at least she thinks she did), but when Hart finds out he threatens to call the police so the ladies kidnap him and attempt to find dirt on him, which of course they do. But from start to finish, accompanied by fun songs and a dazzling set, and great performances from the cast (which also includes Bonnie Langford as busybody Roz Keith), 9 to 5 the Musical will drive you happy if you let it!!!
Of course, there are some cringe-worthy moments, especially when Mr Hart grabs his balls and plays with his nipples during one song (‘Here for You’), while society has moved on about this sort of treatment of women in the workplace with the #metoo movement in full force. But overlook these as we all have a good time watching the show. And it’s Dolly who is our narrator in the beginning, middle and ending (a video, not her in real life, unfortunately) who sets up the story and then winds it up. ‘9 to 5’ is no longer a rich man’s game, it’s all for us to enjoy!
9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL plays at the Savoy Theatre, Savoy Court, until 31 August 2019, Book tickets here.
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.