Wednesday, 2 January 2013

9 to 5 the Musical UK Tour: Theatre Review

9 to 5 the Musical is based on the 1980 film of the same name, starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. The film was adapted for stage, opening on Broadway in 2009. Parton, who wrote the title song of the original film, wrote the music and lyrics for the musical. The original production on Broadway closed after just 24 previews and 143 regular performances. However the musical didn’t just go away, it embarked on a US tour and last year came over to the UK and is currently touring the country. Set in the 1980s where the work place was a sexist place for women the show tells the story of three women Violet, Doralee and Judy who kidnap their horrible boss and give him a taste of his own medicine. They take over the office and show that just because you’re a women doesn’t mean you’re incapable of doing anything a man can do.
I must say that the score of this show is brilliant, for Dolly’s first musical she’s really done a fantastic job and really seems to understand each one of the characters plus getting the musical theatre style spot on, adding her own style to it too. She’s written a song for Judy which comes near the end of the show called Get Out and Stay Out, any person who likes musical theatre would know this song already but this has to be my favourite musical theatre song of all time. Patricia Resnick has written a great script, the thing I love about the show is that it’s a modernised version of the story (obviously still set in the 80s) but it still stays so true to the original essence of the film.
Jeff Calhoun’s direction is good, nothing majorly impressive but he has done a decent job with the show. The set is a very scaled down version from the original Broadway design but the images of the 80s around the frame of the stage really paid great homage to the 80s. One thing I did love and got very excited for was the ‘Sexist, Egotistical, Lying, Hypocritical, Bigot’ scene where everything was pink and sparkly! Too exciting! This show has a very good cast. Just a note to anyone going to see it that are aware of and love the Broadway cast, this is not them. Please do not try and compare them because their portrayals are very different.
Jackie Clune plays Violet Newstead, she sounds almost exactly the same as Alison Janney who played it in the original cast but she brings a lot of Britishness to the role, she’s twisted the humour so it appeals to the English audiences and she really delivers it well. Not a stand out performance but she plays it splendidly. Amy Lennox plays the Dolly Parton role, Doralee Rhodes. This role obviously has to be based on Dolly in some way but Amy does it in a way which pays respect to Dolly but she really makes it her own and her performance was almost effortless. Impeccable vocals, If I’m listening to the Original Broadway Cast soundtrack of the show then I usually skip ‘Backwards Barbie’ but she sang it with such meaning and a level of focus which meant I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
Natalie Casey was one of my favourite things in the show; she plays the role of Judy Bernly so differently to any other portrayal that it’s very refreshing to watch. She is a master at comedy and she really uses this to her advantage in the show. There seems to be a lot of layers to her character as well, she’s very interesting to watch. Her rendition of Get Out and Stay Out was outstanding, again it is so different to any other performance of it but I loved it! A performance which really impressed me, I can’t wait to see what Natalie does after this. Ben Richards gave a really great performance as Franklin Heart; his relationships with the three lead girls were stimulating to watch on stage. He made the character really laddish but also quite vile, but he is very fancy-able so that was ok. Especially when I saw him get changed through a small cap in the set.
Bonnie Langford is almost unrecognisable in the show as Roz Keith. She gives a fantastic performance in the musical, they’ve obviously catered this particular role for her in this adaptation, but how could you not when you’ve cast Bonnie Langford! I have to say that this is cast very well, every cast member seems to gel together very well and as much as they’ve thought about each individual character the casting director seems to have really thought about the cast as a whole which is very obvious as they work so well together! The ensemble are great in the show, there doesn’t seem to be many of them when you see them on stage but they are all astonishingly talented and the routines were flawless. It’s not the best musical ever, but it’s well written and you’re guaranteed to have a fantastic night at this show!
Rating: ***
9 to 5 is currently on Tour around the UK
Click here for the official Website

Cast Includes:  Natalie Casey, Amy Lennox, Bonnie Langford, Ben Richards, Jackie Clune, Hayley Ainsley, Ashley Andrews, Phillip Bertioli, Lisa Bridge, Nyroy Dixon, Persephone Fitzpatrick, Lori Haley Fox ,Tom Andrew Hargreaves, Sinead Kenny, James Lacey, Gemma Maclean ,Peter Mcpherson, Marlon Moore, Sasi Strallen, Lauren Stroud, Andrew Waldron and Mark Willshire

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