Yesterday The Bloke and I went to see 9 to 5 the Musical at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.
Based on the 1980 hit American comedy movie, 9 to 5 tells the story of Doralee, Violet and Judy – three workmates pushed to boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss. Concocting a plan to kidnap and turn the tables on their despicable supervisor after he blackmails them, will the ladies manage to reform their office – or will events unravel when the CEO pays an unexpected visit? While the film was released nearly forty years ago, many of the issues highlighted are still a prominent part of social commentary, particularly on the topics of equal pay and roles and treatment of women in the workplace.
Louise Redknapp plays Violet, a smart and ambitious senior office administrator and widow who is overlooked for a promotion in favour of a man that she trained. She is absolutely perfect for the role – strong, confident and self-assured with a beautiful voice and a presence onstage that demonstrates why she has had such a long and successful career as a performer.
She is joined by Amber Davis in the role of Judy, who has been forced to find a job for the first time after her husband has left her for his secretary. Made famous by her appearance in Love Island, I was admittedly a little dubious about the casting choice, but she quickly dispelled any doubts with a truly incredible performance – sweet, funny and making her own way in a new world, Davis has an absolutely sensational voice.
They are joined by Georgina Castle as Doralee, the attractive secretary that is falsely mistaken to be having an affair with their chauvinistic boss and is consequently shunned by the rest of the office. Played by Dolly Parton in the film, Castle is able to channel her inner ‘Backwards Barbie’ country girl while making the role her own – witty, charming and fun and an absolute joy to watch.
Together they are a powerhouse of vocal talent and comedic timing. While each can easily hold their own during their solo performances, as a trio they are utterly mind-blowing.
They are supported brilliantly by Sean Needham as loathsome boss Franklin Hart Jr and Lucinda Lawrence in the role of office spy and admin assistant Roz. Needham is absolutely hilarious throughout in both his comic timing, facial expressions and the fact that he spends quite a large amount of time suspended from the ceiling in a rather revealing bondage outfit. It is Lawrence, however, that provides a series of show-stealing moments in her undying (and unrequited) love of Franklin, at one point stripping down to her underwear and revealing her innermost fantasies about her boss to the audience.
Dolly fans are treated to an introduction by the iconic singer on the screen at the beginning of the show and it is Dolly who also wrote the Oscar, Grammy and Tony award-nominated score music and lyrics. With The Book for the musical being written by Patricia Resnick (the writer of the screenplay for the film), fast paced choreography by Lisa Stevens and a bright and fun set design by Tom Rogers complete with computer screens framing the stage, the show is a lot of fun, and definitely worth watching!
Disclaimer: The Bloke and I were given complimentary tickets, but were under no obligation to provide a positive review of the show.