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9 to 5 The Musical at Alexandra Theatre Birmingham

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Review of Dolly Parton Inspired Show
This stage show based on the famous Dolly Parton film opened on a high with a video recording of Parton singing the iconic title song, but how did it fair from there?

9 to 5 the musical, Louise Redknapp, Alexandra theatre
Working 9 to 5....


The 9 To 5 Musical is on at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham until Saturday as part of an extensive UK tour and has Louise Redknapp headlining.

It's an uplifting story of girl power for the #MeToo generation that tackles the subject with cheeky raucousness. In fact, there's a few bums and six packs on show from hunky males in the cast from early on.

9 to 5 the musical, Louise Redknapp, Alexandra theatre
Louise Redknapp is a strong lead in the musical


Set 1980s, the story is based around a trio of women in an office who get revenge on their unsavoury boss for several misdemeanours - sexual harassment, passing over a woman for a top job and general unacceptable sexist behaviour.

It's cheeky fun from the get-go with warm-hearted friendships depicted on stage boosted by relevant jokes on equal pay and the old boys network.

Louise Redknapp, Love Island winner Amber Davies and Georgina Castle are strong as the three leads and gel well together to make it a believable romp.

Castle as Doralee, the character played by Dolly Parton in the film, has the strongest voice and is used well singing country influenced songs.

The soundtrack is catchy with great musical numbers, but you wouldn't expect Parton to put her name to anything less.

9 to 5 the musical, Louise Redknapp, Alexandra theatre
Love Island winner Amber Davies shows off her vocal skills


The country feel is most prominent in Doralee's solo of Backwoods Barbie, Let Love Grow and, of course, 9 to 5. There's also catchy tracks of Hey Boss, Shine Like The Sun and One Of The Boys when Redknapp gets to shine in a big solo dance number imagining her dream as a CEO.

It's an extremely slick show with a lavish set. Keeping to the 1980's theme, there's huge desktop computer screens surrounding the border of the stage that change colour according to the scene and plenty of shoulder pads.

There's quick stage changes to bring various settings to life including the city rooftop skyline and the boss' bedroom, which provides some of the funniest points of the show.

Boss Franklin Hart Jnr is played perfectly by Sean Needham, who is a grotesque caricature of the worst boss ever but manages to also make the role hilarious rather than creepy.

Needham also manages to create a great rapport with the audience despite his bad behaviour in the same vein as a pantomime baddie. His saucy comeuppance involving bondage and a chandelier feels very satisfying.

9 to 5 the musical, Louise Redknapp, Alexandra theatre
The musical is touring the UK


There's a lively spirit to this musical that perfectly taps into the work relationships that form in any office over feeling neglected or being at the rough end of a boss' decision.

This show, that has already been a success on Broadway where it starred Alison Janney of The West Wing fame, has been updated since the film to make it more relevant and that is part of its winning formula.

The book has been adapted by Patricia Resnick, who also wrote the original film screenplay in 1978, which became one of the top grossing films of all time. So you know you are in good hands.

What's fabulous about 9 To 5 The Musical is that it's hugely funny while also addressing serious topics of equality of the sexes and female harassment. Plus it taps into a common theme - after all, who hasn't at one time wondered what it would be like to get revenge on their boss?

The show has you fom the moment that toe-tapping intro beat of 9 to 5 comes on.

Rating:

Find out all the UK tour dates here.
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Why? See Dolly Parton musical 9 to 5
When: Until 14 September 2019 in Birmingham and then UK tour
Phone: 0844 871 3011
Where: Alexandra Theatre, Suffolk Queensway, Birmingham, B5 4DS
Cost: From 13
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