Dolly Parton's rip-roaring musical about life in a New York office comes tumbling into the Lichfield Garrick this week.
The shows protagonist, Judy Burnley, joins the office block as she changes her job following the recent, still lingering, divorce from her ex-husband. Sarah Taylor is strong as the nervous Judy and her partnership with the supporting leads Violet Newstead (Alison Room) and Doralee Rhodes (Philippa Mills) reaches heights at the end of act one in Shine Like The Sun. With the narrative soon taking the form of a farce, the girls find themselves in a tumbleweed cycle of errors as they accidentally poison their self proclaimed "Lying, Sexist, Egotistical, Hypocritical" boss Franklin Hart played here by Gregg Yates - who has made a speedy character change from his role last week in WBOS' Rock Of Ages.
One show-stealing performance came in the face of the antagonist office worker Roz Keith (Steph Coleman) who brought real hilarity to her numbers Hart to Heart and 5 to 9. Further impressive performances came from Brett Dewsbury as the hopeful Joe and the company’s chorus enhances the piece well. Ian Room’s Musical Direction of Parton’s score has some moments of musical genius; notably Shine Like The Sun and Get Out and Stay Out are exceptionally well performed by the cast.
Fundamentally, the dream sequence trio isn’t really needed, dragging out act one. However, full credit is due to the company who really delivered these scenes well, placing comedy at the forefront, which eventually leads into the wonderful Shine Like The Sun.
Set and lighting complemented well, successfully setting the musical in the context of the 1980s. There are times where more front light would enhance the action, as sometimes this is missed in more intimate numbers. Having seen Scenic Project’s set for this show before, it really does fit the Garrick’s stage well, filling it nicely.
Simon Pugh should be proud of the cast, his direction really enhances the production keeping in mind that 9 to 5 is simply, a feel good musical.
It really is worth catching at the Lichfield Garrick this week!
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