In anticipation of 9 to 5’s visit to Richmond in November, Office Intern Alice Morris went to see the show during its run at Wimbledon Theatre.
It was with high expectations that I arrived at the Press Night of 9 to 5. As a new intern, little else had been talked about since my arrival. This is a production that, despite four Tony nominations stateside, has taken 32 years to hit the British stage, and heck, were this lot itching.
9 to 5, inspired by the film, tells the story of three office workers, Violet, Judy and Doralee, who join forces to take on their sexist boss, Franklyn J Hart Jr. What ensues is a hilarious feel-good comedy as the girls’ plan spirals more and more out of control.
Although the production gloriously embraces 1980s nostalgia, the story of women being under-represented and sidelined in the workplace – by their ‘sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot’ boss - remains frighteningly pertinent. Dolly recently said in a BBC Breakfast interview that ‘Since the movie, a lot of things have changed, but I think we’ll always have the same problems in the workplace that we do’. Perhaps this is why title song resonates with so many people today, and why the show is proving such a hit with audiences all over the country.
The show is certainly not preachy, but it sure is empowering. The talented cast are bursting with energy, none more so than the inhumanly spritely Bonnie Langford who treats us to a display of her enviable flexibility whilst wearing particularly restrictive lingerie. We were bowled over by the fantastic and hilarious Natalie Casey’s gutsy and vocally-impressive rendition of Get Out and Stay out as the lovable Judy finally fights back against her cheating ex-husband. Dolly fans will also love Backwoods Barbie sung by Amy Lennox who plays Doralee, Dolly Parton’s alter-ego.
To find a production that guarantees a fun night out whilst maintaining a degree of quality can be a rarity. Here’s a refreshing exception to the norm. Whilst this undoubtedly lends itself to the feminists among us, it is by no means limited to the girls, nor to seasoned Dolly fans. I was only familiar with the hit number (don’t tell), yet before I knew what I was doing my arms were in the air while my mouth inexplicably moved in time with the music. Not a great look for a newbie; thank heaven I was by no means alone.