9 To 5 The Musical,
***** 5 Stars
“A Comedy Musical Joie De Vivre! ”
Can you believe the motion Picture of “9 to 5” was released in cinemas in 1980 yes! Almost 40 years ago, the story of three women leading the charge for female empowerment in the business world of the high rises of New York gave Dolly Parton perhaps her most recognisable hit.
The film was adapted to a musical and premiered in 2008 and gained some success however it didn’t arrive in the west end of London until just this year, and its that production which is still currently playing at the Savoy Theatre which is now on tour throughout the UK and what a treat it is.
Telling the story of Violet Newstead ( a wonderful turn from Laura Tyrer stepping in for the indisposed Louise Redknapp) a strong willed woman with aspirations of being CEO, Judy Bernly (Amber Davies in powerhouse turn) an office newbie who facing up to life without her husband must get on the work ladder and Doralee Rhodes (Georgina Castle who channels Dolly Parton wonderfully well) who every one thinks is a tart with a heart but in fact this tart has the brains to match.
The three women are stuck in a male dominated world, and repressed with a boss, Franklin Hart Jnr (a snide and excellently judge performance from Sean Needham) who is nothing more that a sexist pig. Having put rat poison in the boss’s coffee which he survives its sets off a chain of comedy events that see’s the woman finally find there feet in the business world and each other and change there world for the better.
This 2019 production is without a shadow of doubt the best ever of the show, with Director Jeff Calhoun taking the show in new direction, this is musical theatre for adults, with sexual innuendo, bare buttocks and S and M references aplenty and it’s a comedy musical joie de vivre.
Dolly Parton’s Music and Lyrics and Patricia Resnick’s book is better served by this retooling one which works so well as rather than trying to please family audience’s it harnesses the power of the original film and explores the empowerment of women in business so well.
Lisa Stevens Choreography is sharp with nods to Bob Fosse scattered throughout added to Simone Manfredini’s 8-piece band all the ingredients are mixed together for a superb night of musical fun. Special mention must also go to Tom Rogers inventive set design which really transport the show to New York and an office setting brilliantly and even allows Dolly herself to act as Narrator ( sorry folks she is on pre tape not live in the theatre) which adds extra charm. With excellent lighting design from Howard Hudson and Poti Martin’s Sound design you have all the trappings of a west end calibre show on stage at the playhouse.
9 to 5 remains an enduring hit as both a film and musical because of its heart and putting women at the centre of the story something which even now 40 years letter remains as relevant as ever. So tumble out of bed and pour yourself a cup of ambition and head to the playhouse for a real treat!
Dolly Parton Presents, 9 To 5 The Musical, Edinburgh Playhouse, Runs until Saturday 16th November, UK tour continues for tickets go to: www.atgtickets.com/shows/9-to-5-the-musical/edinburgh-playhouse/