If you are looking for a sparkling night out, look no further than The Alexandra this week. Arriving in spectacular style, 9 to 5 opens its UK tour right in the heart of Birmingham and boy is it worth the hype. Already receiving critical acclaim in the West End, this toe-tapping treat of a show has undergone a few tweaks since its previous visit to UK soil. This fresh, new(er) version is a sheer delight from start to finish.
Based on the film of the same name, the storyline (progressive for the time its set) follows the trials and tribulations of the three central female characters who have to tackle the everyday obstacles thrown in their way by their male counterparts, in particular their misogynistic, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot of a boss, Franklin D Hart - played exceptionally well by the brilliant Sean Needham.
With music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, there is a real joy to be found in the melodies from start to finish. Her signature sound is stamped across the production, from the titular ‘9 to 5’ to the act one closing number, ‘Shine Like The Sun’ - the music brims with an infectious energy.
Much comic relief comes in the form of the excellent Lucinda Lawrence as Roz, with ‘Heart to Hart’ being a certain highlight. The stage pulses with excitement thanks to the talented ensemble, executing well drilled choreography from Lisa Stevens. The staging is impressive from designer Tom Rogers, complemented well by the lighting from Howard Hudson, it comes into its own during ‘Change It’.
But it is the trio at the forefront of this production who absolutely shine - Louise Redknapp (Violet), Amber Davies (Judy) and Georgina Castle (Doralee) are individual forces to be reckoned with. Their exceptional voices deliver spine-tingling moments throughout, including the beautiful harmonies in 'I Just Might’, Louise Redknapp’s brilliant ‘One of the Boys’, Georgina Castle’s beautifully memorable ‘Backwoods Barbie’, through to Amber Davies’ stand-out vocals in ‘Get Out And Stay Out’ - just wow.
Under the musical direction of Simone Manfredini and direction from Jeff Calhoun, this production certainly ‘shines like the sun’. Not only a fantastic night out, this newest version of Parton’s 9 to 5 is a triumph.
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