For my final theatre visit of 2012 – wow, it seems weird to say that – I headed down to the Alexandra Theatre here in Birmingham, for an afternoon of camp cheesy fun at 9 to 5 The Musical, which if you hadn’t guessed from the picture, is based on the music of Dolly Parton and the film of the same name.
This show was definitely what I call a “recommendation visit” as several of my Twitter and non twitter friends (including the divine Ali Broomfield and Rich Callegari) had seen this show earlier in the year and told me how good it was. Hey, I need no excuse to go to the theatre, so my ticket was booked and off I went!
The first thing that struck me when I sat down in the theatre was the sight that I was greeted with . . .
This stage curtain definitely transports you back to the 1980s, and it is very much a case of guess the famous face while you wait for the show to start! This was one of the most unique stage curtains I have seen throughout all my theatre visits during 2012, and it set the mood for the show perfectly.
The show certainly opens with a bang – well, more the very loud ring of a telephone, and you are straight into the title song, with a little help from Ms Parton herself, who appears on a screen “live from her desk in Dollywood” to act as a narrator throughout the story – a very nice touch!
It is during this song we are introduced to our three main characters – Violet, Doralee and Judy (Jackie Clune, Amy Lennox and Natalie Casey) – three very different women who are struggling to maintain three very different lives all while still “working 9 to 5” We follow them as they struggle to put up with the sleazy antics of their boss Franklyn J Hart (Ben Richards) while trying to hide from the prying eyes of his personal secretary Roz Keith (Bonnie Langford). In a male dominated world, Violet, Doralee and Judy struggle to make an impact – especially Violet who, after working for Hart for a number of years, is passed over for a promotion in favour of a younger man who she had actually trained!
The story takes a swift turn when Violet “accidentally” puts rat poison in her bosses coffee! Despite making a full recovery, Hart continues to push his luck until one day – well, let’s say these are 3 ladies that I would NOT want to get on the wrong side of – but if you want to know what they do – you will have to go and see the show for yourself!
The cast is so multi-talented across the board, it is hard to know where to begin! Jackie Clune (Violet) is a strong feisty leading lady who many in the audience could certainly relate to. She brings you into the story and makes you want to see her succeed right until the climax of the show. Her on-stage relationship with both Amy and Natalie is one of the strong points of the show and makes you believe that 3 women – even in those days – could achieve anything they wanted to!
Amy Lennox (Doralee) was a performer that I first saw back in the early days of “Legally Blonde” at the Savoy Theatre – but she has now matured into a stunning leading lady. She brings so much joy and emotion to Doralee – the typical Texan blonde who is more than her looks – and for me, she is the character I could relate most to. The beautiful “Backwoods Barbie” was so touching and so moving and was performed with such effortless grace. Here’s to many more leading roles for Amy in the future!
Natalie Casey – also a Legally Blonde alumni – is an absolute sensation as Judy! The rollercoaster journey that her character goes on is followed by the audience every step of the way. Natalie brings comedy, joy, despair and anger to a role that she brings to life in the most sensational way. Her shining moment for me was her performance of “Get Out and Stay Out” where you can tell she means every word. Absolutely brilliant on every level – this girl is worth the price of the ticket alone!
A special mention must also go out to the brilliant Ben Richards (Hart) and the amazing Bonnie Langford (Roz). Ben plays the sleazy Hart perfectly (at times he is almost too good!), and he has the audience completely in the palm of his hand in wanting us to despise his character – although I will say, he does look good in pink hotpants and a grass skirt (but if you want to see more, go and see the show!)
Bonnie Langford is just phenomenal as the secretary who loves her boss from afar Roz. She brings a comic genius to the whole show that no one else does and in every scene she was in, she drew your attention immeadiately. Her shining moment had to be “Heart to Hart” – her proclamation of love for her sleazy boss – and I must say, she looks sensational in her outfit – or lack of it – in this number!
Believe me when I say, you don’t need to be a Dolly Parton fan to enjoy this show (although a surprise in the encore may persuade you!) This is a fun filled, joyous night out that will leave you smiling from ear to ear!
Take a look at this sneak peek: – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIcknnZXfA0&list=UUmds-1JtnjHUdvVaVueLFRQ&index=1
The tour is in Birmingham until 5th January 2013, before heading to Glasgow, Liverpool and Dublin. See http://www.9to5themusical.co.uk/ for details.
This is my last post of 2012 – thank you for making this year so special for me. I can’t thank you all enough for your support with everything I have written – it means the world! All I can ask is that you continue to show your support for this Blog into 2013 and beyond – who knows what we can achieve?
Happy New Year to you all!
Signing off for now,
Blue Eyed Girl Xxx