9 To 5 - The Musical - Hanley Regent Theatre
DOLLYWOOD is back — and bigger than ever — in a new musical production that takes us way back to 1979.
Based on the film version starring Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda, 9 to 5 follows the story of recently divorced Judy Bernly as she joins the office girls of Consolidated Companies.
A novice in the workplace she is looked down upon by her fellow colleagues until she meets the warm and caring Violet Newstead, but trouble is brewing in the form of sexist and domineering boss Franklin Hart.
Perfectly cast, with Jackie Clune as Violet and former Footballers Wives regular Ben Richards as Hart, both fall effortlessly into their roles but the star of the show, as my mother quite rightly pointed out, was Gemma Maclean in the role of Judy.
Former Hollyoaks star Natalie Casey was set to play the role at Stoke’s Regent Theatre on Monday but was replaced by understudy Gemma Maclean after the former was struck down by illness.
‘She’s really good for an understudy’ were the words whispered to me while Maclean entered into a pitch perfect rendition of ‘Get Out And Stay Out’.
However, while the audience were in awe of the seemingly new talent just discovered, there was another surprise in the form of theatre stalwart Bonnie Langford.
While she did not take any of the four lead roles — her take on put-upon and hopelessly in love Roz Keith was admirable, especially when stripping down to suspenders and a corset for ‘5 To 9’ and high-kicking her legs to her head in definitely the most active routine of the show. The fact she is 48 years old makes it even more incredible.
The show, originally starring Parton — who also wrote the title song — in the film version, shows these women, Judy, Violet and southern doll Doralee — played fantastically by Amy Lennox, finding themselves in the unlikely position of kidnapping their evil boss (Hart).
He has already spread gossip about his non-existent affair with Doralee around the office, denied Violet her promotion in favour of a less qualified man and humiliated newbie Judy in front of the entire workforce.
Now, revenge is theirs but the race is on to find something on Hart that would bring his entire world crashing down but while he is tied up in his own home with a gun to his head.
Will the gooey-eyed Roz notice he’s missing? What will his wife do when she gets home and finds him in the rather uncompromising position? And could it really have a happy ending?
The production is a very well-oiled machine that audiences young and old will enjoy — even if you can’t remember the 70s.
9 To 5 The Musical runs at Hanley’s Regent Theatre until tomorrow (Saturday, November 24). Tickets are available online at www.atgtickets.com or by calling 0844 871 7627.