Wilma’s Rating [rating=4]
Currently on tour at London’s New Wimbledon Theatre, I went to see 9 to 5 expecting a country version of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. A feel good feast of tongue in cheek comedy and this is exactly what I got. As far as comedy musicals go, this is up there with the best of them. It doesn’t take itself seriously or pretend to be something it isn’t and it works. Toe tapping melodies and comedic dialogue consistently throughout, gives the audience no opportunity to get bored.
9 to 5 (based on the 1980 film) tells the story of an egotistical, narcissistic boss Franklyn J Hart (played by Ben Richards, known for his role in The Bill) who loves to have ladies around him in the office but would never consider giving one a promotion. This slimy character goes too far with Violet Newstead (Jackie Clune) by giving the promotion she deserves to a man instead of her. The office girls set out to get their own back and transform the office into a happy workplace. Accidental poisoning, kidnapping, blackmailing and a trip to rehab leave the boss a little tied up in a very Witches of Eastwick way!
Doralee Rhodes (played by Amy Lennox) is the misunderstood blonde bombshell, with too much make up and cleavage that leaves nothing to the imagination. But this isn’t who she really is inside (as she sings in the song Backwards Barbie) and she is determined to prove her worth. Amy Lennox does a great job in the role, bringing enough Dolly similarities to it, whilst also making it her own.
One of my favourite comedy actresses at the moment is Natalie Casey who starred in Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre and most recently in Abigail’s Party at the Wyndhams Theatre. Natalie gives an exceptional performance in 9 to 5 as Judy Bernley, the dopey new girl in the office (a role which she is perfect for).
Bonnie Langford only gets better with age. Whist she gets more beautiful with every show she appears in, her credibility as a singer and an actress is constantly reaffirmed. Her performance of secretary Roz in 9 to 5 is amazing. Stripping off to a corset and stockings at the age of 48, whist tango dancing and singing upside down (straddled down a man’s leg) is no job easy to pull off but Bonnie does is in her stride with grace.
The set for 9 to 5 is great. A typical 1980’s office that is converted to an embellished pink glittery dance floor during the girls Marijuana trip where they dream what they really wish they had said to their boss.
This isn’t a Dolly Parton jukebox musical. 9 to 5 is the only well-known Dolly song in the show (although everything has a familiar country twang to it). Fans won’t be disappointed though as she narrates her way through the show, with a special shout out to each theatre on the tour (giving the feeling she is in the room with you).
The whole soundtrack to this show is infectious. The closing song is reminiscent of something from Hairspray, leaving you energised and finding yourself on your feet clapping away.
The final words are from Dolly herself. If you enjoyed the show, tell everyone. If not, keep your mouth shut and they might still come anyway! I have no need to keep quiet about this one, it is a must see with a standout cast for which every member shines!
9 to 5 plays at London’s New Wimbledon Theatre until 27th October.
For further tour dates click here
Watch my Tea With Wilma video interview below with Bonnie Langford who plays Roz in 9 to 5 the musical! Wilma met Bonnie for a chat and she was very excited to have just received her script for the show!