THEATRE REVIEW | 9 To 5, The Musical17th October 2012
A vivacious musical comedy with heart at its core, it is a story of courage, conviction and empowerment; with an exemplar cast to tell its story, 9 to 5 is the must see musical of the year.
The Dolly Parton musical comes alive from the very opening, with its quick-witted phrases, punchy tunes, and an abundance of comic repartee. It has all the ingredients for a great musical, plus that bit extra. Indeed it is as if the theatre has embodied Dolly’s very being, with her character and personality ingrained into every scene and voluminous hairstyle. Certainly, for the older viewers, there will be notions of heartwarming nostalgia.
But the musical is not just a throwaway comedy, it has real substance and a universal relevance which is paramount in today’s society of equals.
As working 9-5 will be familiar to many of us, it manages to put into perspective the motivations for leading a happy and fulfilling work life. Although the story is only 30 odd years old, it is clear to see how far women have come in the work place, and rightly so. Franklin J Hart, superbly played by Ben Richards, is the sexist bigoted boss, who manages to get many of his female employees playing into his hands. (though who would dispute such a good looking boss?). However it is difficult to single out the star in this superb cast; it is an exemplary cast at that, with each delivering their own individuality whilst remaining a solid unit. Every credit to them all.
The clear narration from Dolly Parton on screen introduces each of the characters in turn before the story unfolds, with the famous ‘Working 9-5’ tune pulsating thought the toe-tapping audience. It was refreshing to be part of an audience who wholeheartedly supported the cast rather than the reserved clapping often witnessed in UK theatres; a testament to the show perhaps.
In Act 1, energy and facetiousness is delivered in abundance. This includes the magnificent character, Roz, that Bonnie Langford brought to the show. A clear highlight has to be her infatuated fantasy tango number with boss Franklin (Ben Richards), leaving the audience in stitches long after the moment passed. Both Ben and Bonnie brought their expertise to the stage and delivered it with refreshing boldness.
The show reached a pivotal moment in the second half by Judy’s (Natalie Casey) breathtaking performance, ‘Get out and Stay Out’. Her comic genius was left to one side during this solo, showing a sensitivity and pain that overpowered the theatre.
It is difficult to fault the high-quality performances. The only let down is the weak graphic used to promote the show.
The smooth running show grips the audience from start to finish, leaving you wanting more, surpassing my expectation. To be honest, the thought of the show didn’t initially grab my attention, but I urge all of you to go out right away and purchase your tickets for a musical that will leave you overflowing with exhilaration.
All in all, it reawakened my love for musical theatre. This musical deservedly proves why there should be a resurgence back to the theatre.
The show is touring the country so check out your nearest show at