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9 to 5, The Musical

by on 25 May 2018

And Dolly Was There !

9 to 5, The Musical

by Dolly Parton, Based on a Book by Patricia Resnick

TOPS Musical Theatre Company, Hampton Hill Theatre until 26th May

A Review by Mary Stoakes

9 to 5 is based on the popular 1980s movie which starred Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton. The stage version was first produced in 2009 and, despite being nominated for several awards, ran for only a few months on Broadway. A UK production followed in 2010 but this, despite its feminist message and songs and lyrics by Dolly Parton, did not really grab the imagination of the theatre-going public and its exposure on the London stage was limited.

Based on a book by Patricia Resnick, 9 to 5 tells the story of how three female workers at Consolidated Industries attempt to get even with their sexist, lecherous, domineering, financially dubious and bigoted boss, Franklin Hart, a suitably misogynistic Tom Daniels. In a farcical turn of events and under the influence of pot, they live out their fantasies. Subsequently in ‘real life’ they kidnap the boss and in his absence give their workplace a makeover, increase productivity and take control of what had always been a male dominated environment.

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TOPS’ 9 to 5 , under the direction of TJ Lloyd, provided great opportunities for a largely female cast. In the principal roles, Mandy Church as Violet, the leader of the conspirators, Alex Alderson as Doralee, the not-so-dumb blonde, and Ellie Barrett as Judy, the divorcee who finds her independence, worked well together with nicely delineated performances. American accents were good but some of the dialogue was lost due to over- strident and high pitched delivery. (Not only a feature of this production – some critics are blaming Eastenders !) Violet’s touching scenes and duet with Joe (Jasper Loxton) provided some of the quietest and most effective moments in the show.

Apart from the title number 9 to 5, this is not a show overfull of memorable tunes and some of the singing was rather forced – perhaps in an effort to sing over the expert, but at times overpowering, band (under the musical direction of John Davies). However, Mandy Church (Violet) excelled in Around Here and also in One of the Boys in which she was ably supported by the male members of the company.

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In the role of Roz, Hart’s adoring and long suffering personal assistant, Becky Silverstein gave one of the most entertaining performances of the evening. Her big number Heart to Hart was a tour de force of comic acting and singing, much appreciated by the packed audience, as indeed was the whole show.

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Ensemble work is one of the joys of any TOPS production and 9 to 5 was no exception. Choreography, especially for the male dancers under the dance captaincy of Charlie Booker, was fairly straightforward and the large number of dancers was fittingly and expertly managed by choreographer Lacey Creed on the relatively small stage at Hampton Hill Theatre. The opening chorus 9 to 5 was vibrant and set the scene for what was to follow. Costumes were nicely in period for the 1970s and the many scene changes were slotted seamlessly into the action, which the occasional back projections enhanced.

An enjoyable evening.

Mary Stoakes
May 2018

Photography by Ace Studios

From → Musicals, Reviews


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