This touring production of 9 to 5 is at The Liverpool Empire from 1st- 5th October and is one not to be missed. The story is set in the 1980’s and tells of three colleagues Violet, Doralee and Judy who are fed up of their boss’s sexist ways. They decide to formulate a plan to kidnap their boss and to make him realise his egotistical ways. They hope to change the office to become a far nicer place to be, but the CEO of the company turning up is something they didn’t plan upon!
The songs in the musical are written by Dolly Parton and include many catchy lyrics with the obvious show stealer being the title of the show. Patricia Resnick has written the storyline around the music and although it is a straightforward plot there are some nice relationships built through her writing. For the lovers of the film be warned, there are differences to allow the transition from film to stage but the plot is easily recognisable with key moments taking place. This production is somewhat modernised with jokes linking to our current political situation, including the American President, and also gender equality issues such as the pay gap. The audience loved this element and the actors stepped outside of their characters for a brief moment giving great audience interaction.
Louise Redknapp leads the cast with her portrayal of Violet, a strong woman who stands up for equality and Redknapp portrays this well. Amber Davies (Judy) was excellent and effortlessly came across as the quiet and introverted Judy who finally stands up to her boss and her ex-husband. Georgina Castle (Doralee) took on the role Dolly Parton played in the film version and did well making the part her own whilst still maintaining the key parts of the character Dolly made it famous for.
Louise Redknapp (Violet) played the role confidently as the older and wiser lead of the group and although in the first half doesn't showcase her vocals as much as the other two, in the second half wowed audiences with her rendition of the song One of the Boys. Redknapp played the character well and made the audience sympathise with her situation as a widower brining up her teenage son. Redknapp also played well against love interest Joe (Marshall) and they had some lovely moments together. Amber Davies (Judy) highlighted her vocal range and acting ability in the song Get Out and Stay Out and this was a highlight of the show. Sean Needham (Frank) was excellent in his role as the sexist boss and achieved the audience booing at him with his portrayal. He brought a light- hearted quality to a character that could have easily been two dimensional. The update to the show makes this character less manipulative and more of a farcical figure. This works for now whilst still highlighting the gender issues which still occur.
The set was striking and lights surround the stage which allowed for imaginary scenes in the character’s heads to stand out. The lighting also allowed for a 1980’s feel alongside the bright almost garish colours of the set which suited the show. The costume added to this and it was clever to note costume changes when key events happened within the show. The set was also great and allowed the actors to move the set swiftly and effectively.
Dolly Parton makes an appearance on screen throughout the show as a narrator causing gasps from the audience. Parton sings 9 to 5 with the case and is a really special moment particular for those big fans of Parton in the audience. Overall this is a sassy and hilarious show and is a must see for those who want escapism from their own 9 to 5.
Reviewer: Beth Easton
Reviewed: 1st October 2019
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★