9 to 5 The Musical
More than just a cup of ambition, its a whole coffee shop
Remaining faithful to Patricia Resnick's book and the 1980's movie in both story and much of the script, 9 to 5 The Musical is a riot of song and dance, fun (more than a little risque in places) and makes for a brilliant evening.
The premise is centered on a stereotypical New York company in the 1980's - a corporate boys club where women are seen as second class items of titillation or simply to be tolerated as they perform the most menial of tasks, ran by CEO Franklin Hart Jnr (Sean Needham), a sexist misogynist who takes great pleasure in denigrating the female workforce. Cue our three protagonists who, after a particularly difficult day discuss how they would like to kill off Hart.
Whilst this may just be girl talk, it does get them thinking as to how they would change things should they ever get into the hot seat. Following a hilarious encounter in Hart's office (resulting in him being hog tied at gun point), they find themselves presented with the opportunity to revise the working conditions and at the same rid themselves of Hart once and for all.
Violet (who for this performance was brilliantly performed by Sarah-Marie Maxwell in her debut appearance) Judy (Vivian Panka) and Doralee (Stephanie Chandos) work so well together as the lead trio - initially they are very separate with little time for each other and quite set in their opions but by the 2nd act they have formed a formidable triple threat. Sean Needham as Hart keeps 'the boss' on the right side of despicable - he's not played as a pantomime villain, more a sad deluded middle aged man who believes his name plate entitles him to anything he desires. His comeuppance at the end of act 1 is hilarious. Special mention to Julia J Nagle who plays Roz, Harts office spy - her unrequited love for him doesn't just border on obsession, it is firmly entrenched in 50 Shades of ...
With lyrics and music written by Dolly Parton you know you're guaranteed some fantastic songs and it is refreshing to have a musical that does not follow the traditional Broadway/West End formula. There is tonnes of humour, great up tempo country-style numbers and all performed by the brilliant cast.
Choreography by Lisa Stevens is amazing; she manages to pack in all the feelings of a busy office, loads going on without ever distracting from the leads, and at times it feels like a Busby Berkeley number. Designer Tom Rogers deserves particular applause; the set, transitions and very clever use of perception is some of the very best this theatre will have ever seen.
Fans of Dolly, fans of the original film and certainly fans of funny musicals will LOVE this show and it guarantees to leave you singing all the way from 9 to 5 and back again.
9 to 5 is on at the Sunderland Empire (who work tirelessly to ensure you feel safe, relaxed and can enjoy the show) running until Saturday 13th November.