A perfect tonic for the wintery gloom, the Empire is home to the fun and games of 9 to 5: The Musical for the first time this week.
Penned by Dolly Parton and inspired by her starring role in the film of the same name (quite obviously), this touring version of the hit Broadway show tells the tale of three women who take revenge on their dreadful boss and take control of their own lives.
With songs as big as the hair, the show mocks 1979 style with affection but still looks good, while the madcap comedy is knowingly cheesy and keeps just on the right side of ludicrous. For sure, the show is as colourful and cartoony as La Parton herself – but song titles like Sexist, Egotistical, Lying Hypocritical Bigot and Get Out Stay Out indicate guts as well as heart, much as we would expect.
Dolly appears at little intervals in the show to talk to the audience via video screen. Ever the charmer, it’s this in the end that gets the crowd on its feet, when she joins in for a verse and chorus of 9 to 5 before the curtain goes down.
That’s not to say the show relied on her – Bonnie Langford showed great comic timing and stage expertise as lovelorn PA Roz, and ex-Hollyoaks-er and Two Packets of Crisps star Natalie Casey once again proved what a great comic actress she can be. Relative newcomer Amy Lennox as Doralee, the Dolly-esque role, nailed the naive charm of the character and made her solo number, Backwoods Barbie, a highlight of the show. The songs blended Dolly’s 70s style disco and country with more traditional big musical theatre numbers, which worked well.
With plenty of laughs and characters you can really root for, stuff Viva Forever, this is the kind of real girl power an audience can really get behind.