REVIEW: 9 to 5, Liverpool Empire, 30 July 2013

“Working 9 to 5 what a way to make a living…”
 was all I had in my head on the way to the theatre. If you have been lucky enough to see the film, you will understand my intrigue, how have they adapted it to the stage? Casting was going to have to be top drawer as they had some very big shoes to fill, would they have the same music? Storyline? Ending? It was safe to say our reviewer Tanith Facey was VERY excited to see 9 to 5!

Show time! As soon as the curtain went up we were greeted by a huge screen with the lovely lady herself Dolly Parton, who gave us an interactive run down of the cast and storyline. Three unappreciated ladies working in a 1980’s male dominated environment. Judy Burnely (Natalie Casey) the newly divorced house wife taking a job to find herself again. Violet Newstead (Jackie Clune), the single mum and ambitious feisty feminist who is determined to make it in the corporate world. Doralee (Amy Lennox) the Texan busty babe just wanting to make friends but drawing the wrong attention simply because of how she looks. Franklyn Hart (Ben Richards), the bully and “egotistical bigot” running the office and finally Roz (Anita Louise Combe), Mr Harts secretary….his eyes and ears of the office!

Costumes and sets were a perfect depiction of the 1980’s era and clearly portrayed how very different things were only a mere 30 years ago. You forget that typewriters, large bulky photocopiers and huge phones with flashing lights on them were considered high tech then, which made me smile. A busy stage, fun quick tempo songs and plenty of the famous movie one liners “Did you get my memo?…..I did Roz I tore right through it!” kept the entire audience giggling and engaged. I also liked that the music was not over powering like it can be in some musicals, the dialect was clear and the pace just right.

The 5 main characters did brilliantly with timing, vocals and presence, I cannot fault them and they worked together perfectly. Ben Richards (enter wolf whistles…oh the irony!) as Franklyn Hart, provided us with the perfect balance of Mr Nasty and humour, an awesome performance. Natalie Casey as Judy Burnely was simply hilarious, in her usual quirky style but watch out for her solo, such an impressive vocal range. My most special mention though has to go to Anita Louise Combe as Roz. Her lust for Mr Hart isn’t portrayed as much in the original film so I am so glad they developed her character for the stage because she rocked it! Her solo performance, a combination of song and dance was definitely my highlight of the show. Not only funny, but there are not many people that can sing while being held upside down? She was faultless.

Overall a fun and entertaining show! I was delighted that the 9 to 5 theme tune was the very last thing to finish the show. The entire audience was on their feet and singing along creating a brilliant atmosphere and was testament to how well the evening had gone. So altogether now “tumbled out of bed and stumbled to the kitchen…”

WORDS BY: Tanith Facey


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