Wednesday, 16 October 2019

REVIEW: 9 to 5 at the Savoy Theatre

Based on the 1980 movie starring Dolly Parton this loveable comedy has transferred from screen to stage. Judy Bernly (Chelsea Halfpenny) is forced to find work after her husband runs off with this secretary. Her new boss Franklin Heart Jr (Brian Conley) mistreats his female coworkers terribly with abusive language, harassment and sexual remarks. Having had enough Judy along with her two coworkers Violet Newstead (Caroline Sheen) and Doralee Rhodes (Natalie McQueen) storm out of the office and bond over their fantasies of revenge on their sexist boss.

Overall the stage adaptation is bright, colourful and heart warming all at the same time. From the second the first alarm bell rings in the opening number 9 to 5 there is a sense of intrigue in the air. The show is packed with a perfect balance of uplifting and emotionally charged musical numbers perfect for all generations from young children to grandparents. The clever use of Dolly Parton's video messages really does give it that final personal touch. However the shows backbone is pure comedy and you can feel this in the audience throughout. The show is littered with brilliant one liners and relatable references, constantly gaining genuine laugh out loud moments from the audience.

Having seen the show before I was intrigued to see the new cast and all they had to offer. Most notably Natalie McQueen's performance as Doralee Rhodes is nothing short of exceptional, her vocal ability is really quite incredible and her accent is second to none. Brian Conley's portrayal of Franklin Heart Jr will have you laughing out loud with his quirky mannerisms and impeccable comedic timing. As will Bonnie Langford as Roz Keith, Mr Franklins' assistant. Violet Newstead (Caroline Sheen) was covered by Jenny Legg and Judy Bernly (Chelsea Halfpenny) covered by Rhiane Drummond. For regular theatre goers, watching a show with two of the main roles covered by understudies would have made a noticeable impact, don't get me wrong both girls are clearly very talented, but the first half felt slightly more disconnected. Come the second half both Jenny and Rhiane proved exactly why they were chosen as the leads
understudies as they both performed and belted out their equally brilliant solos.

9 to 5 is a perfect balance of musicality and comedy. Extremely enjoyable for regular theatre goers and newbies alike. Whether you have seen the film or not won't matter as there is so much to be taken from this highly entertaining piece of theatre.

Review by Luis Elkes

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Stalls H11 | Price of Ticket: £77.50
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