Based on the 1980 film which starred Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda, the stage show which premiered in 2008 and recently opened in Melbourne, is a newer version of the workplace revenge comedy. Full of new songs by Dolly Parton and even an appearance in pre-recorded video messages to welcome you, set up the story, introduce us to the characters and at the end let us know where they all finish up.
This Female empowerment storyline follows office workers Violet (Marina Prior), the ‘too old to chase, too young to fire’ office manager, Judy (Casey Donovan) who ‘misses Dick’, her husband who left her for a younger woman and Dorelee (Erin Clare) the ‘Backwoods Barbie’, who is smart as a fox. All three woman find themselves at the receiving end of boss Franklin Hart Jnr’s (Eddie Perfect) sexist behaviour. Violet is passed over for promotion in favour of a man she’s trained, Judy told to call Franklin ‘Sir’ and Dorelee made to pick up pencils so he can gawk at her cleavage. The woman seek their revenge, and eventually realise their potential and dreams after Franklin is dispatched to Borneo by the company CEO.
Marina Prior draws on her large-scale musical theatre experience to invest in her character (Violet Newstead), with warmth and dignity. She sings and dances like the star she is, and doesn’t disappoint when it comes to nailing the comedy. Casey Donovan is a real delight as Judy Bernly. Having created a warm-hearted, huggable character and going from a struggling novice to strong, confident individual, then finally bringing the house down with her powerful rendition of Get Out and Stay Out. Equally impressive is Eddie Perfect with his big baritone speaking and singing voice and is wonderfully unpleasant as Franklin Hart Jnr. So easy to loathe in his funny, cleverly staged solo, Here for You. For me personally, at times Eddie gave me Gaston from Beauty and Beast vibes. Not to be outdone, the wonderful Caroline O’Conner, in what could of been a throw-away role as Hart’s faithful if equally unsuspectingly lustful secretary, Roz Keith. Caroline pulls out all stops and really does halt the show with her funny, energetic performance of Heart to Hart in which she reveals her secret crush for Franklin Hart Jnr.
Tom Rogers is responsible for the ever so wonderful 1980’s costumes, and the bright mobile setting which incorporates dozens of artificial television screens to allow Howard Hudson’s lighting design to flood the stage with colour.
9 to 5 with it’s show stopping performancs from it’s all star cast, it’s colourful sets and costumes, catchy songs and vigorous dancing guarantees an evening of light hearted and highly entertaining musical theatre. You’d be crazy to miss it.
9 to 5 is now playing at the Arts Centre, Melbourne until September 16th. Tickets and more information can be found at 9to5themusical.com.au