9 to 5’s energetic all singing all dancing cast burst onto Glasgow King’s Theatre stage last night like a scene reminiscent of 42nd Street (not a critisicsm). It wowed all night long with great quips, hilarious and cringe-worthy scenes, punchy dialogue and songs perfectly suited to what on the surface appears like a light-hearted comedy. Sounds like a no-brainer sure-fire winner.
Actress and singer in the orginal Seventies film – which the show is based on – Dolly Parton’s recorded opener set the scene and her charming southern state drawl and digital appearance immediately radiated a warmth that would stoke the fire throughout the evening.
Characters Doralee (Georgina Castle), Violet (singer Louise Redknapp) and Judy (Amber Davies) are three office workmates pushed to boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss. After he finds out Violet accidentally poured rat poison instead of ‘Skinny & Sweet’ (once you get to know him it’s ironic) into his coffee he threatens to call the police so the next logical step is to kidnap him, take over the office, make some reforms and hope the CEO doesn’t pay an unexpected visit in the next few days. What could possibly go wrong?
Well for one, meddling secretary Roz played brilliantly by Lucinda Lawrence, puts a few spanners in the works as she vies for Mr Hart’s attention and acts out one of the funniest stage scenes in a show-stopping performance where she transforms from fuddy duddy secretary, pulling out her hair pin and whipping off her suit to reveal a sexy red and black bodice and suspenders. Her side-splitting and leg-splitting dream sequence routine ends up with her boss walking in and hilariously gagging as he spots her. Not put off by his lack of interest Roz carries on poking her nose in as the office busy body.
There are outstanding performances by Georgina Castle, Sean Needham (Mr Hart) and Lucinda Lawrence. Former girl band (Eternal) singer Louise Redknapp gave a convincing performance and Sean was a perfect blend of crass and loathsome and his raunchy numbers left the audience in stitches. It’s like imagining BoJo doing some throbbing and pelvis gryating – utterly horrifying and hilarious in one blow!
Georgina plays Dolly Parton’s character and it’s worth noting in the original film Dolly was sending up her own image acting out a ‘Dolly’ secretary in the role with a minute waist, big boobs and an even bigger heart. It was a pleasure to watch every minute of Georgina’s performance and the magnitude of her voice did the great Dolly Parton justice. Bravo!
On a serious note, it’s hard to believe or understand that mal-treatment by a misogynist boss in today’s society could be swept under the carpet. Or that issues such as lack of childcare, pay inequality and lack of flexibile workplace hours could exist. Some things have moved on and some seem to be juddering along not quite making that smooth flow no thanks to male misogynists and chauvinists sitting in the ultimate power seats as presidents. I don’t like to name names but you know who you are Mr Trump. So, back in the day in the late Seventies when actress/political activist Jane Fonda wanted to comment on these very real issues she got together with writer Patricia Resnick and actress and songwriter/singer Dolly Parton and 9 to 5 was born. It worked well as a comedy with a great soundtrack so not a surpsire that it should make a resurgence as a show.
Back in the day Dolly Parton was massive in every way shape and form and the talented gal from Tennessee is now a multi-iinstrumentalist with a line of number one hits and the most honoured country female performer of all time. She has her own record label, Dolly Records, and bizarrely co-owns Dollywood – a themepark dedicated to the talented lady who is famous for saying about herself, ‘It cost me a lot of money to look this cheap’.
There’s a lot of of soft sexual visuals and banter in 9 to 5 the musical and if you like that sort of thing – the hundreds of giggling ladies in the audience clearly did – then this is your cup of tea. Overall, from top to bottom (giggle giggle) it’s a great production and totally worth it for a fab night out. Enjoy! Here’s a wee blast of the original soundtrack
9 to 5 is on at Glagsow King’s Theatre until Saturday 12th October.
Review by Susie Daniels