Review: 9 TO 5 tumbles Into Melbourne and Works Wonders!

This musical works wonders!

By: Jul. 25, 2022
Review: 9 TO 5 tumbles Into Melbourne and Works Wonders!

Review by Daniel Baker

From the second the first few notes of the iconic anthem to working life hit our ears, the audience at the Melbourne opening of 9 to 5: The Musical knew they were in for a fabulously fun night. Written and presented by the one and only Dolly Parton, this show is as camp, energetic and sparkly as one would expect.

Based on the 1980's hit movie of the same name, 9 to 5 tells the story of three very
different women who come together to overthrow the patriarchal tyranny of their boss and
take the recognition and space that they deserve. Set in the 1980's, the flagrant workplace
and societal sexism faced by the women seems shocking yet all too familiar and the
audience rages along with them and cheers as they fight back, through song, dance and
feel-good humour.

The entire cast is absolutely fantastic. As the smart and sassy Violet Newstead, Marina Prior brings a warm charm to the efficient veteran employee of Consolidated Industries. Her sheer magnetism and charisma lead our three heroines with her strong, kind leadership and we all root for her as she dreams of smashing the glass ceiling to become 'One Of The Boys'.

Review: 9 TO 5 tumbles Into Melbourne and Works Wonders! Casey Donovan is endearing and charming as the sweet and gentle Judy Bernly, who, having never worked a day in her life, finds herself in need of a job and the newest employee under the stoic guidance of Violet. Her journey from meek and mild doormat to empowered independent woman is a joy to watch and her rendition of the 11 o'clock number 'Get Out and Stay Out' brought the entire audience to their feet.

Erin Clare completely embodies the whip-smart Doralee Rhodes, the character originated by Dolly Parton, who finds herself the victim of vicious workplace gossip. Clare is perfect as the brilliant Southern belle, who refuses to compromise who she is in order to fit in and Clare's fierce self-assurance shines off the stage to fill the entire auditorium.

Eddie Perfect is the Trump-esque Franklin Hart Jnr, the horribly sexist, vile and controlling
boss, who pushes the women to breaking point. Perfect is suitably unlikable and infuriating
as the gravelly voiced misogynist and the whole audience cheers at his eventual demise.

Review: 9 TO 5 tumbles Into Melbourne and Works Wonders! Caroline O'Connor almost steals the show as Hart's loyal and creepily devoted
administrative assistant Roz Keith, who tries to thwart the efforts of our three heroines to
take what is rightfully theirs. The entire audience screamed with laughter as O'Connor tore
up the stage with her comic genius and phenomenal moves, reminding us why she is a
globally revered star.

The supporting cast and ensemble are sensational as they attack every role and carefully
choreographed step with glee and more precision than the tightest of secretary pools. Lisa
Steven's choreography is impressive yet simple and the boundless energy of the dancers
serve it perfectly in the bright and colourful set designed by Tom Rogers.

Jeff Calhoun has directed a big smile of a musical that has audiences cheering for women's rights and female friendship. Is the show faultness? No, but it is entirely forgivable when the cast is this good. The friendships and joy explode off the stage with such authenticity that you will certainly leave the theatre feeling elated and ready to pop on your 80's power- pantsuit to take down the patriarchy.

9 to 5 is now playing at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne until 18 September 2022
before heading to Adelaide in October.

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