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9 to 5: The Musical - Manchester Theatre

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Coming soon to Manchester's Palace Theatre, Dolly Parton presents 9 to 5: The Musical.

Please note this review is of the West End production, which played at the Savoy Theatre from January 2019 to March 2020. The UK tour plays in Manchester 1st-5th March. Casting in the Manchester performance will differ to the below.

9 to 5, a title that seems quite quaint considering today's typical working hours, is the kind of show you attend when you need a chuckle and don't want to think. This is a fairly by-the-numbers musical adaptation of the 1980 film. It's a candy-floss kind of show - sweet while it lasts but dissolves immediately and offers no real nourishment.

The audience is greeted by a video-recorded introduction from Dolly herself, which always elicits whoops from the crowd that I'm sure Dolly can hear, wherever she may be. The stage then opens up to display an imaginatively designed set that moves fluidly from scene to scene and oozes with appropriately revolting 1980s corporate polish.

The story depicts an act of revulsion by three hard-working and under-appreciated women, who kidnap their putridly misogynistic and entitled boss and run the company themselves. I would comment on the songs that accompany the tale but to be honest, I can't remember a single one of them other than the iconic title track.

The trio of heroines are all in fine form, with a particularly gutsy performance from Parton stand-in Natalie McQueen (who delighted audiences in her comedic turn as Lauren in the recorded production of Kinky Boots). The chorus are full of meticulously choreographed energy and all the elements of the show work in a craftsmanship kind of way - the material itself just doesn't have the showstopping power of or heartstring-tugging moments of better musicals.

Is it still worth seeing? I'd say yes. If your mum or aunt is a fan of the film and you're looking for a birthday treat or somesuch, it's an enjoyable couple of hours. Just don't expect it to linger in your thoughts.
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When: Tue 1 Mar - Sat 5 Mar 2022
Where: Palace Theatre Manchester
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