Reviewed by Ruthie Luff
The hit musical 9 to 5 opened at the Richmond Theatre Monday night. With the piercing sound of an alarm clock, the audience perked up and the quiet stage burst to life as the real life Dolly Parton greeted us… well, almost real!
9 to 5, based on the 1980 film version that features the Country goddess herself, shows a corporate world where women are simply disregarded. We follow three “secretaries”, Violet (Jackie Clune), Doralee (Amy Lennox, a Dolly double) and Judy (Gemma MacLean), who are constantly being patronised and sexually harassed at home and in the workplace. Though Violet and Doralee have more than enough brains to run the company, they’re reduced to the boss’s personal coffee maker and set of jugs. They have every good reason to hate their boss, Franklyn Hart (Mark Moraghan), also known as a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical, bigot!” Pushed to the limits of tolerance, Violet, Doralee and new comer Judy, kidnap their boss, tie him up in his house and keep a close eye on him with their handy shot gun. With Hart away from the CEO desk, the ladies step in and make a few changes at the office. Changes that just might last!
Director and Choreographer, Jeff Calhoun, and his enormously talented cast stage the ultimate feel good show! The stage is filled with engaging, energetic dancers who don’t miss a beat.
Kenneth Foy’s set design was bright, versatile and rushed us back a few decades. He managed to bring in all the elements of the office, even the pencils. The sparkly pink office transformation during the mary-j-wanna number was especially dazzling!
There were plenty of stand outs in this show. Clune, Lennox and MacLean were a great trio, showing natural chemistry and great comedic timing. Due to illness, Natalie Casey was unable to perform as Judy, but Ms MacLean definitely stepped up to the plate. She knocked the solo “Get Out and Stay Out” clear out of the park!
Bonnie Langford, who was practically born on stage, shone in the role of Roz Keith. Her accidental strip routine was nothing short of hilarious and impressive. And God does she look good!
9 to 5 is a great way to spend your evening. The script is riddled with that Texan humour, and the music has you tapping your toe and singing along. And as I said, Dolly even makes an appearance! Ok, so it’s a pre-recorded video. But still, she personalises her message to include Richmond, so you really feel like she’s taken the time to talk to you. She closes the show singing her title song. I’m not going to lie; I was up on my feet with the rest of them, getting my hoe-down on, even if I did have to get up the next morning to work 9-5!