After an enforced break, this feel-good musical takes to the road again, stopping off in Birmingham for a week.
Based on the 1980s film of the same name and of course, the iconic song, this show tells the tale of three woman (Doralee, Violet and Judy) with office jobs, struggling to get noticed in a man’s world. Their boss, Franklin Hart Jnr, has views that (hopefully) are outdated in the workplace today. Can the ladies get him to take them seriously?
Being set in the 1980s, everything is of the era. The costumes, hair and make-up instantly transport you right back, as does the pared down set. Clever use of projection does the leg work for the scene setting allowing for a few well placed furniture items to create the location. The set changes create a choreographed musical interlude while we change locations seamlessly.
There are great character performances from the whole cast with the fellow office workers making their presence known. The dancing is slick and polished but lacks the wow factor. Comedy runs through out the show, mainly in the form of the inappropriate words and actions of Hart but our three heroines get their share of the laughs too.
Louise Redknapp plays Violet, the office worker with big dreams. The role is a perfect fit as Redknapp captures the many aspects of the character with ease and gives a great performance all round. In contrast to Violet we have Doralee (Stephanie Chandos) the glam country girl who proves everyone wrong. Chandos is a joy to watch as she channels Dolly Parton while adding her own stamp on the character. The role of quiet new girl Judy is played by Vivian Panka, her defiant solo song in the second act brings the house down as she hits the powerful high notes and completes the transformation to confident woman. Richard Taylor Woods played Franklin Hart Jnr with enough tongue in cheek to make the characters inappropriate actions funny, he stole most of the laughs and had some of the most memorable moments of the show. Harts uptight assistant Roz (Julia J Nagle) is another noteworthy performance as she captures this split personality perfectly.
Although there is a serious message trying to get out, this show is pure fun and enjoyment, a night where the mainly female audience can giggle at the men and cheer on the ambitious women. It leaves a smile on your face and that song in your head.
9 to 5 runs at the Alexandra Birmingham until Saturday 20th November 2021 https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/9-to-5-the-musical/the-alexandra-theatre-birmingham/
Reviewed: Annette Nuttall
Reviewed: 16th November 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★