9 TO 5: Music and Lyrics, Dolly Parton; Book Patricia Resnick
Touring to 17 07 13
New Alexandra, Birmingham, till 05 01 13
Runs: 2h 30m, one interval
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 19 12 12, New Alexandra
High spirits, something to say, great songs. Give yourself a treat.
There is a large group of wonderful women in this equally wonderful musical. And in the centre of the group is Dolly Parton. Music and Lyrics are hers, she appears on film narrating and commenting on the story, her belief that women are as good as men (if not better) is the rich theme of the show, and her energy, wit, her personality draw it all together.
How ever you feel when you go into this show, you’ll feel a whole lot better when you come out.
Parton’s music, with its infectious rhythms, drives the show along. Kenneth Foy’s set – often furniture and props on wheels – enables the action to spin from one place to another, while enhancing the story-telling atmosphere.
And, of course, there are the performances. This is a strong company, and outstanding are the four main women. Dolly, herself, is more than hinted at in Doralee Rhodes, suitably busted and blonded – she has a winning, heart-warming charm in Amy Lennox’s creation. Then there are the two older women, gorgeously brought to life. Jackie Clune (Violet Newstead) brains, brawn, wit and a young man – she has everything except promotion, and Natalie Casey (Judy Bernley) – a worm that truly turns.
Add to this powerful trio, the comic creation of Bonny Langford as Roz Keith, hopelessly in love with the Boss, but who, eventually discovers linguistic prowess and true love.
Parton and her book-writer, Patricia Resnick, manage to avoid sentimentality while pulling at our heartstrings. The wit is glorious – never more so than in the oh-so-pink SEXIST, EGOTISTICAL, LYING, HYPOCRITICAL BIGOT. Jeff Calhoun directs with verve and also creates some sharp choreography.
Give yourselves a treat – I would . . . well, I supposed I did already.
[Full credits will follow.]