Review: 9 to 5: The Musical @ New Wimbledon Theatre



With fantastic music, choreography and stand-out performances, 9 to 5 will entertain you round-the-clock

By Alex Christian

“A bit of a feminist call to arms” is how Dolly Parton’s classic 1980 hit 9 to 5 is described in the programme notes.

Making that same comment about 9 to 5: The Musical would be taking it all a bit too seriously.

Although there is an underlying feminist message in its story, the show’s real strength and why it is such a crowd pleaser across the board is how witty, funny and hugely entertaining it is.

Based on the 1980 film starring Dolly Parton, 9 to 5 is a bright and breezy two hours, a show complete with snappy numbers written by the Country and Western legend and boosted by some brilliant choreography.

Just like the cinema release, 9 to 5: The Musical focuses on three down-trodden women, working in a mundane job for the archetypal boss from hell – a ‘sexist, egotistical, lying hypocritical bigot’ is how one of the show’s best numbers labels him.

The three girls soon find themselves plotting to takeover his company and transforming their working and personal lives, often going through some highly amusing situations to do it.

Dolly’s original character in the film, Doralee, is brilliantly played by Amy Lennox, while Natalie Casey’s Judy and Jackie Clune’s Violet are both pitch-perfect.

One of the strongest performances comes from Ben Richards, who succeeds in the unenviable task of playing the villain of the show, nightmare boss Franklyn J Hart, while virtually stealing every scene he is in.

The production also retains the contemporary late-1970s aesthetic of the film’s release date – the men wear their pinstripe suits and moustaches with pride while the girls carry big hairdos and attitude as they sing in Deep American South drawls.

Dolly even makes a few cameo appearances in the show, and there is the perfect finale with one last rendition of 9 to 5.

With fantastic music, choreography and stand-out performances, if you are a Dolly Parton fan or a fan of musicals in general, 9 to 5 will entertain you round-the-clock.

9 to 5: The Musical is now showing at New Wimbledon Theatre until 27 October.

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