Reviews are rolling in for Dolly Parton’s musical comedy 9 to 5 The Musical at the Savoy Theatre in London.
Inspired by the cult film, the revenge comedy stars Caroline Sheen, Amber Davies and Natalie McQueen as three harassed office workers who hold their loathsome boss, played by Brian Conley, hostage whilst transforming their workplace. West End favourite Bonnie Langford, most recently seen in 42nd Street at Theatre Royal Drury Lane also features in some hilarious scene-stealing moments.
Critics have largely praised the lead performances but were split over whether the plot’s message was feminist or outdated in the #MeToo era. The show has a book by Patricia Resnick, the film’s original screenwriter, and music and lyrics by Dolly Parton
9 to 5 The Musical is booking until 31 August 2019 at the Savoy Theatre, London.
9 to 5 The Musical reviews
"Slick and stylish Dolly Parton period piece"
"This beloved revenge fantasy is as subtle as a sledgehammer but its advocacy of workplace equality makes it hard to dislike"
"The show itself is unashamedly a period piece and .. it is stylishly put across in Jeff Calhoun’s production."
"Caroline Sheen, as the office supervisor, sings and dances with great verve and she is well supported by Natalie McQueen as Doralee, Amber Davies as Judy and Bonnie Langford as the closeted sex queen. Given the unenviable task of playing the lecherous chief exec, Brian Conley invests the character with the right tongue-in-cheek excess."
"Bonnie Langford is employee of the month in this feelgood but flimsy musical"
"For power-jacketed professionalism, you can’t fault Caroline Sheen (stepping in for an injured Louise Redknapp to play multi-tasking, lovelorn Violet), Amber Davies (the 2017 Love Island winner) as the gradually empowered Judy and Natalie McQueen as the drawling Doralee, bewailing the bimbo status that she has been saddled with."
"Employee of the month’ award however should go to Bonnie Langford"
"Dolly Parton's somewhat hallucinatory musical is a wilfully preposterous crowd-pleaser"
"The plot, when it shows up, is about as ridiculous as these women’s ultra-glam interpretation of ‘office wear’. Violet accidentally laces the bossman’s tea with rat poison, then all three trap him in bondage gear while they turn the office into an equal-pay paradise with an on-site crèche. Fortunately, no one even pretends to take it seriously"
"It's enough to drive you crazy if you let it"
" There’s not enough real firepower here or in Patricia Resnick’s script; Jeff Calhoun’s production chugs along on its monumental office set, but it’s increasingly hard to care whether poor Violet will ever stop being overlooked for an overdue promotion."
"The crowd lapped it up"
"McQueen as Doralee (unmistakably the rootin’-tootin’ Dolly Parton role) is the closest thing to stardust with fine Tennessee-twang vocal cords and a Barbara Windsor slapstick quality."
"Feelgood feminist classic shows who’s boss"
"Jeff Calhoun’s West End production rarely takes you by surprise, but it never really lets you down either."
"Sheen holds the evening together with unshowy panache. She will be a tough act to follow."
"If 9 to 5 is good rather than great, it’s because the wit is a bit obvious; because Parton tends to deal out deftly articulate midtempo tunes rather than outright belters. Lisa Stevens’s choreography and Tom Rogers’s set look a little hemmed in on the Savoy’s smallish stage"
"his is very much of the more is more school of musical theatre."
"McQueen’s Doralee has the same irresistible positivity and sweetness of Parton, not to mention a superb Southern drawl. She’s Parton’s spitting image, albeit four foot taller. Davies overdoes the ditziness a bit, but Sheen is just brilliant. It’s like the role was made for her, and there’s certainly no sign she jumped into it last minute."
"The show as a whole is fun, if gaudy and silly .... It’s still very entertaining, and after all these years (almost 40 of them) it feels, depressingly, necessary."