9 to 5 The Musical @ Festival Theatre, Adelaide13/10/2022

There was no ‘yawning or stretching trying to come alive’ with 9 to 5 The Musical. For those who know the song (and there wouldn’t be that many who don’t) it’s such an annoyingly catchy fun song you find yourself singing along to without even thinking! So naturally you would expect something similar with this musical and thankfully it delivers.

It was only fitting to have the music icon herself, Dolly Parton introduce the characters and story of 9 to 5 via video to start off the night of music, comedy and mayhem. If you’ve seen the movie, you won’t be disappointed with so many references thrown in to keep you amused. Original screenwriter Patricia Resnick has managed to adapt the movie’s energy to a stage production while Dolly Parton has written new music and lyrics to keep that same vibe and fun.

Songs that for a few of the stars came with standing ovations confirming that casting is everything in a show. Casey Donovan was perfect as the newly separated Judy Bernly trying to fit in at Consolidated Industries. Those vocals. Seriously those vocals! Donovan’s powerhouse vocals were a highlight in itself, showcasing the emotional ride of her character’s transition from shy and timid to strong and confident. Donovan has really embraced musical theatre and it shows. It’s like she was born for it.

Let’s talk about Erin Clare! At first you could mistake her for a Marilyn Monroe look a like rather than country gal Doralee Rhodes but as time goes on, she nails the twangs and slangs perfectly just like the Dolly Parton version. Playing a pretty, sassy and intelligent Doralee, Clare held her own in the singing stakes getting her own standing ovation after her solo.

With the likes of Australia’s musical royalty, Marina Prior as Violet Newstead and Caroline O’Connor as Roz Keith, it’s a star-studded cast of magic and class. Prior may be known for her class act vocals but her comedic value shone bright in this production just as O’Connor gave a slick and sassy yet hilarious performance of a lovesick busy body admin assistant in love with her boss Mr Hart.

Eddie Perfect plays the sexist, womanising Franklin Hart Jnr bringing the arrogant and antagonistic ways of a chauvinistic bad guy boss to life. It’s just as well as when he first enters the stage you can’t help but coo over his suave and sexiness unlike the original movie character. If only he had the moustache!!!

Special shout out to Sarah Krndija who plays the office drunk Margaret for the laughs. ‘Atta girl!’

While there may be some serious themes of feminism, equal pay or women’s roles in the workforce, we have to remember this is set in the 80s. Sure, some of those issues 40 years later are still relevant today but it’s a musical in its funniest form. It’s not made to change the world. It’s there to entertain us and that it does very well. 9 to 5 is a catchy, 80s style kitsch musical with big hair, comical mayhem and over-the-top characters just as colourful as the decade.

Review By Anastasia Lambis

Tickets and show information at 9 to 5 The Musical

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