Dolly Parton's cheerful, bonkers musical 9 to 5 opens in London

Oct 25, 2012

Feminist revenge comedy is not Chekhov, but this Broadway musical is good-hearted, cheesy fun

What you need to know
Based on the hit 1980 movie of the same name starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, 9 to 5: The Musical has opened in London. This is the Broadway 2009 production, with new songs written by Parton.

The book, by the movie's scriptwriter Patricia Reznick, tells the story of three female office workers who conspire to kidnap their sexist boss, take control of the company and expose corruption.

9 to 5 is directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun and stars Amy Lennox as Doralee (Parton's role in the film), Jackie Clunes as thwarted career woman Violet, and Natalie Casey as divorcee Judy. Ben Richards plays scoundrel boss Mr Hart. Dolly Parton makes an appearance via video projection.

Runs at New Wimbledon Theatre until 27 October, before touring nationally until 2 February.

What the critics like
It is hard to believe 9 to 5 was ever not a musical, says Libby Purves in The Times. The "bonkers plot cries out for visual jokes
and fantasy dances". Patricia Reznick's wisecracks and 19 Dolly Parton songs "gallop through this cheerful feminist fantasy" with a jokily retro feel and some "enchanting" touches.

This is a big, "American whopper melt" of a musical, says Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail. Natalie Casey is splendid as Judy and Ben
Richards as the libidinous Mr Hart singing Here For You, would not disgrace Tom Jones. "The story is cheerful tosh, yet the show is fun."

This is mass-appeal musical theatre, not Chekhov, says Gary Naylor on Broadway World. This tale of big hair, big flares and big alpha males "is bright, bubbly and has its heart in the right place".

What they don't like
The music is more strenuous than subtle, says Quentin Letts in the Mail. And the political message of secretarial emancipation is dimmed by what becomes "a gawp at olden times". But it's watchable, "particularly for those with a taste for cheese".

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