Theatre Review: 9 to 5

They just use your mind, and they never give you credit…


It’s the 1980s. Three female secretaries decide to get revenge on their tyrannical, sexist boss by abducting him and running the business themselves.


When it comes to equality in the workplace we may not have achieved it just yet, but look at how far we’ve come.

9 to 5 the musical looks at the way in which many women were treated in an office environment. Sexism was rife, flexible hours didn’t exist and as for the idea of a female CEO… well it was laughable.

The sentiment behind this musical is great. Penned by Dolly Parton (music and lyrics) and Patricia Resnick (book), it’s light-hearted and funny, with some good songs (Shine Like the Sun is a great end to Act I).

Unfortunately, the plot is average, and certain elements haven’t aged well. Parts of the script seem slightly rushed and some words are lost in the speed of the dialogue.

It’s also a shame that Violet feels she has to become One of the Boys in order to succeed. That said, it’s enjoyable and the cast is phenomenal, although singing is significantly stronger than the acting.

Louise Redknapp is an absolute joy as Violet: gently feisty, she owns the stage and makes her performance look effortless. Stephanie Chandos provides light comedy relief as Doralee; Backwoods Barbie is a great chance for her to shine.

The real star however is Vivian Panka. Her voice is sublime and her rendition of Get Out and Stay Out is absolutely flawless: a stand-out performance. Definitely one to watch!

Overall, the show is glitzy and colourful with some fantastic sets (and wigs), while the inclusion of Dolly herself is a nice touch. Cheesy, fun and – despite everything – kind of empowering! What’s not to like?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Originally written and reviewed for West End Wilma. I received press tickets and hospitality. All opinions my own.

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