9 to 5 The Musical (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Wednesday 20 October 2021

9 to 5 The Musical (UK Tour) 
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 19th October by Olivia Mitchell

If a night of carefree fun is what you're after, look no further than the girl-power, 80s musical that is 9 to 5. Telling the tale of a group of women who are fed up of their misogynistic boss, the show is filled with tongue-in-cheek moments, high energy choreography and of course, the Queen of Country herself: Dolly.

Having seen this show in its various iterations, what's quite amazing is how it retains it's intensity and lavishness wherever it's situated. Musically, Dolly Parton's score pared with arrangements by Stephen OremusAlex Lacamoire and Mark Crossland is catchy and toe-tapping, whilst,  Lisa Stevens' buoyant choreography keeps the momentum of the show going and provides there's always action across the stage. Tom Rogers' design which consists mostly of screens which light up various colours and desks which come in and out, is very effective and adds to the upbeat feel of the entire production.

Jeff Calhoun's production features a fantastic cast who perform with vigour and drive. Stephanie Chandos completely shines as Dolly's character, Doralee Rhodes. Funny, feisty and instantly likeable, Stephanie brings warmth to the role and provides a wonderful moment with Backwards Barbie. Vivian Panka is charming as the naive Judy Bernly who becomes an independent woman and finds herself throughout the show. Her rendition of Get Out and Stay Out is a real highlight and her overall performance is top notch. Louise Redhnapp is entertaining and capable as long term office employee, Violet Newstead. Together the trio are a real force as they take drastic measures to show their sexist boss, Franklin Hart Jnr. (played with faultless comic timing by Sean Needham) who's really in charge.

It's almost forty years since Violet, Judy, Doralee and their misogynistic boss made their way to screens in the film 9 to 5. But book writer, Patricia Resnick shows that whilst times have changed, unfortunately many of the issues are still prevalent and this remains a strong and necessary advocator of workplace (and life) equality. With a second act of just 45 minutes, this is a crowd-pleasing-production which flies by and serves up female-led-feel-good-fun on a shining platter. 

photo credit: Pamela Raith