Do you remember the classic film ‘9 to 5‘? It was there we were first introduced to Violet, Judy, Doralee and their boss, Franklin Hart Jr. Thanks to the success of this movie, one of the creators of the film, Patricia Resnick, adapted this modern day fairy tale into a musical for Broadway just over 11 years ago, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton– and now, at the Savoy Theatre in the West End, 9 to 5 The Musical is just as outstanding as ever!
In this recently launched production, a lot of sparkle and colour has been added; new design work by Tom Rogers has completely lightened up the show from start to finish and the choreography from Lisa Stevens is a joy to behold. Directed by Jeff Calhoun (Big River), this laugh-out-loud comedy has become a real hit for fans and critics alike.
9 to 5 The Musical stars Caroline Sheen (Mary Poppins), who has done a wonderful job of standing in for the injured Louise Redknapp. Sheen is highly impressive, and in our eyes did a wonderful job. She plays Violet Newstead – a smart, capable, and constantly overlooked for promotion woman. Her alter ego Doralee Rhodes is played by the refreshing Natalie McQueen (Kinky Boots) and is hilariously funny and forthright and really shines in the very addictive country song Backwards Barbie. Amber Davies (Love Island) debuts in this production and truly shines; she plays a naive Judy Bernly who has to very rapidly find her identity within the world.
The three characters come together to take extensive measures after they find themselves kidnapping the CEO of their company, Franklin Hart Jr who is somewhat very sexist in his nature. Franklin Hart Jr is played by the comic legend that is Brian Conley who as you can imagine has the audience in stitches several times throughout the whole performance.
The show is stolen from time to time by the fabulous Bonnie Langford (Eastenders) who plays Hart’s devoted admin assistant Roz Keith. Langford’s performance is utterly brilliant – hilarious and show-stopping, especially in her top tapping number Heart to Hart.
Of course, the main focal point of the show is the music, and wow! We were not disappointed whatsoever! Stephen Oremus, Alex Lacamoire and Mark Crossland have done a fantastic job of creating some wonderful melodies and ever wonderful songs. The staging is so mesmerising thanks to Steven’s energetic and fun choreography and Calhoun’s tight direction – the show just moves from scene to scene in a very seamless and easy manner which makes for very easy viewing!
You will be pleased to hear that the production is still set in the 1980s, however, with little nods to the modern day.
This is a crowd-pleaser from start to finish. It is full of positive messages about female empowerment and the need to fight toxic masculinity. Ultimately, 9 to 5 The Musical is a feel good, joyful, exciting and fun production and one that many theatregoers will love and enjoy. If you have seen the movie then this works as a great reminder of the brilliant film. And if not, you will still love it for the fun and enjoyable production that is is!