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9 to 5 (Tour - Milton Keynes)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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It was 1980 when the movie made waves, pitting secretaries Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin against their sexist, insufferable boss. Now it’s a full-blown Dolly musical, complete with country-tinged songs and the whole outrageous wardrobe. This stage version has the benefit of a book by the film’s original scriptwriter Patricia Resnick, which makes it snappy, sassy and smart. And there’s even an appearance by Dolly herself, courtesy of a projection high above the stage, from which she explains and comments on the action, as well as pitching in a rousing finale of the title song.

The cast are relentlessly energetic – not to say manic – in their choreographed routines by director Jeff Calhoun and his sidekick Lisa Stevens, while the eight-strong pit band under Mark Crossland keep toes tapping reliably throughout.

Natalie Casey, Amy Lennox and Jackie Clune recreate the Jane, Dolly and Lily roles with panache and some tuneful singing, with an odious Mark Moraghan as the target of the feminine revenge. But it’s Bonnie Langford, as the frump-turned-vamp Roz, who steals the show with an amazing song-and-dance sex siren turn.

It’s all harmless, frothy stuff, if a little less than the stereotype-smashing icon it would like to be, while Dolly’s songs are largely adequate without being memorable. Enjoy it with the heavy coating of sparkle that’s been added to make it a Broadway show, and it’s a fun night out.




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