9 to 5 (Tour - Manchester)
Rebecca Cohen enjoys the return of 9 to 5 in Manchester, where the show made its UK debut.
Manchester Opera House
Die-hard Dolly Parton fans will not be disappointed by the latest touring production of 9 To 5 The Musical.
Fun and frivolous, this is an evening jam-packed with girl power, sing-along classics and all the favourite jukebox musical conventions.
Sure, it's predictable in places, and it won't be the most slick show you have ever seen. But what it does have is the most important ingredient of them all - that of entertainment.
In particular, former Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps star Natalie Casey is an absolute hoot as Judie Bernley - the dowdy new girl who transforms into a powerful and independent woman with the help of her senior Violet Newstead (Jackie Clare) and sexy secretary Doralee Rhodes (Amy Lennox).
This trio have an infectious rapport, with their main song "Sexist, Egotistical, Lying, Hypocritical Bigot" being one of the best of the night. Award winning actress Anita Louise Combe is equally hilarious as Roz Keith, assistant to Franklyn J Hart (Ben Richards) – her portrayal of "Heart to Hart" leaves the audience in stitches.
Choreography works well for the most part, but could do to be toned down slightly in some of the smaller numbers. And in the second half, actors could do to be more conscious of sight lines. But all in all, this is a real treat of a show that is perfect for any girl's night out.
The idea of 9 to 5 may make you cringe in the morning, but with a tight ensemble, an impressive set design and eye-catching costumes, it is a concept you can't help but enjoy on the stage.
- Rebecca Cohen