9-5 is a new musical by Dolly Parton, based on the non-musical film version starring Dolly herself. The stage version is fast, funny, fresh and it is so refreshing to see a new large scale musical on tour, rather than an over familiar restaging of a show that seems to have been forever on tour.
Dolly herself starts and finishes the show on a pre-recorded video, where she introduces the characters and ends by singing 9-5 along with the cast. A nice touch is that she actually refers to the city where the show is playing.
The story revolves around Violet (Jackie Clune), Doralee (Amy Lennox) and Judy (Natalie) who work together and all have good reason to hate their boss Franklyn Hart (Ben Richards). Things take an unexpected twist when Violet believes she has murdered Hart. This leads to the trio kidnaping the boss, until their demands are met for better working conditions.
Apart from Harts’ wife the one issue they have is Roz Keith (Bonnie Langford) who is in love with Hart, without him knowing.
While all the cast are excellent in their roles, it is Bonnie, in quite a small role, who makes the biggest impact with her character. Her big number Hart to Hart is a delight to watch in the hands of this consummate professional.
Kenneth Foy’s set design makes the scene changes rather awkward at times, with the cast wheeling on and off the scenery, while others fill in over the gaps, but this is a small gripe. Occasionally the stage did look a tad sparse during the chorus numbers, which was down to the staging, but Director and Choreographer Jeff Calhoun had all of cast working their socks off and it showed.
There are plenty of laughs, with humour to suit all tastes, and some toe tapping numbers by Dolly herself. At the curtain call many people were up out of their seats dancing along to 9-5.
As the audience left the theatre on a cold, dark October night, they had smiles on their faces, could you ask for more?