9 to 5 at the Savoy Theatre
9 to 5 has been playing in the West End for 8 months and has recently embarked on a UK tour. I finally got the chance to see what all the fuss is about in the West End.
The show’s themes are ones that centre around female empowerment and we meet 3 women who all work for Franklin Hart Jnr. Violet who has worked in the company for years and keeps on getting overlooked for promotion, new girl Judy whose husband has just left her for his secretary and Doralee, a blonde with big breasts but an even bigger heart who is the subject of Frankin Hart Jnr’s constant unwanted advances. Between them they form an unlikely friendship and take on Franlkin Hart Jnr.
The show is billed as a fun musical and it doesn’t fall short on this front. There are plenty of gags that are funny although the highlight has to be seeing Franklin Hart Jnr dressed up in bondage gear suspended from the roof. It is certainty a show where you leave with a smile on your face and replaying some of the funny moments in your head.
Whilst the show is incredibly fun it actually has some serious underlying themes and when one of the female workers comments that maybe in 10 years there will be equal pay this raises knowing eyebrow. This helps make the show that bit more relevant, especially in the wake of the MeToo movement and leaves it mark as something just that little bit more important than frivolous fun.
It also helps that they have cast some top class actors. On the night I saw it Jenny Legg and Rhiane Drummond were on for Violet and Judy. Had I not seen the front of house signs advising the audience that understudies were on I would have been none the wiser. I often love seeing an understudy in a role as I feel that I get to see a rarer version of the production and the quality of these performers only heightened this feeling. Drummond gave the audience what seemed like an effortless but incredibly powerful version of my favourite number in the show ‘Get Out and Stay Out’ and Legg was incredibly warm as Violet and really sold ‘One of the Boys.’
Doralee was played by Natalie McQueen and she was every inch the warm hearted, blonde country singer. Her characterisation was incredibly detailed down to her smile and even how she fell back to this smile once she had been singing.
Joining them in the cast was musical theatre royalty, Bonnie Langford. Langford played Roz, a secretary who is in love with Franklin Hart Jnr and her big numbers had everyone crying with laughter and demonstrated exactly why she has been in the business for so long. Brian Connelly completes the principle cast and he provides many of the laughs of the show, often at his expense.
The set for the show, designed by Tom Rogers was unique and inventive but fitted perfectly with 9 to 5. Old computers lined the stage and when needed they could be used as video screens or to add a bit of colour. The videos also ensured that Dolly Parton herself could appear in the show welcoming the audience and introducing Judy, Violet and Doralee which is a quirky element of the show.
9 to 5 is thoroughly recommended if you want a fun night at the theatre where the show also has a moral message that is incredibly relevant.
9 to 5 is playing at the Savoy Theatre. It is currently booking until May 2020. For more information and to book tickets visit their website.