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9 to 5: The Musical (Tour - Liverpool)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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First time I’ve seen a standing ovation awarded to a voice-over but fair play, which is of course the essence of this 80s set musical, it is Dolly Parton belting out the anthemic theme tune.

You wouldn’t be surprised to learn she was the guiding spirit behind the film about three women leading a workplace revolution but in fact, that came from Jane Fonda, the sweet, naïve newcomer Judy. Here, Natalie Casey tends to go overboard with the silliness, but redeemed by her maturity when dealing with ex husband, Dick. Amy Lennox does very nicely as Doralee, a whole lot better than she ought to be, judging (as people will) by her looks and Jackie Clune admirably channels her inner Roz (Frazier) as ringleader Violet.

You would be surprised and impressed by the cameo from Roz, Hart’s besotted secretary, transformed from victim to vamp – Bonnie Langford is stupendous. Meanwhile, Marlon Moore is rather more convincing as Dick than as Mr Tinsworthy, Hart’s boss and the deus ex machine with Ben Richards suitably odious as Franklyn J Hart.

There is a lot of comedy in the dialogue if a bit too much depends on the way they tell ‘em; the vocal equivalent of mugging. And some oddities: the ensemble in "One of the Boys" includes several girls, although that may be the idea.

At times, you do not know whether to laugh or cry: not sure which is worse, the male bullies or the women desperately seeking approval. And let’s face it, sexism and inequality, even now, are still alive and well in many places.

Nonetheless, it’s odds on most people will find this a thoroughly entertaining production, worth, oh, 9 out of 10.

- Carole Baldock


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