Louise Redknapp as Violent Newstead
Louise Redknapp as Violent Newstead

Why 9 to 5 is as relevant as it ever was

9 to 5 is without a doubt a musical that’s hugely relevant in society today.

It’s hard to believe that the original movie was released in 1980, as its core message, about equality for women, is as relevent now as it ever was.

In an age when we’re hearing horrifying stories of inequality – in wages, in how women are objectified and not given the chances of lesser-qualified men – there’s never been a more relevant tiem for this musical version of Dolly Parton’s hit movie

Of course, this being a Dolly Parton vehicle, it would be wrong if she didn’t make an appearance, and she appeared on a projected screen, introducing us to our lead characters, as well as singing along, and putting in a word at the end.

We meet Judy Bernly – newly separated from her cheating husband – on her first day at work, where she encounters Violet Newstead, a woman constantly over looked in the chain of command, and Doralee Rhodes, a confident southern girl with a killer figure in short skirts and tight tops.

Louise Redknapp as Violent Newstead

The leading trio are first class and superbly cast. Louise Redknapp takes on the role of Violet with gusto and confidence, perfectly bringing to life the character’s frustrations at being overlooked when she deserves a big promotion. Her vocals are as good as ever, from her pop star days of the 90s. (I was a fan)

Georgina Castle is Doralee – the part made famous by Dolly – is fantastic. She looks incredible, which is just what the part requires, but her voice is confident and strong, and she brings real heart to the part. Georgina – the daughter of former tennis star and GMTV presenter Andrew – is a talent to be reckoned with, as she shows that the lustful object of boss Franklin Hart Jnr (Sean Needham) is far more than just a pretty face.

Our third main female lead is Amber Davies, a name which I recognised but wasn’t sure where from. A quick online search revealed she was the winner of Love Island in 2017. But you can forget about that. This is a young performer who is far more than just a pretty face – this is a proper musical theatre talent. Trained as a performer in musical theatre, it’s clear from the word go that she can act, and my goodness, can she sing – she’s top notch. Her solo number is outstanding.

Needham, of course, makes up the main characters, as the sexist, cheating boss. He’s absolutely brilliant – he’s evidently having the time of his life in the part, knowing he’s playing a complete sh*t of a man. He’s literally caught with his trousers down, as he is trussed up by the women and suspended from the roof of his home, in some bondage gear. The first act ends with him suspended there… and the start of the second raises a laugh straight away.

Former Love Island winner Amber Davies as Judy Bernly

A word too for Lucina Lawrence as Hart’s assistant Roz Keith – she brings a surprising turn to her part, that had the audience in hysterics. I won’t ruin the surprise – but it’s brilliant.

The staging is first class. The stage is framed by a series of lights, arching over the stage. There are several of these, creating a pattern, and at the back, there’s a big screen which depicts the city in the background, as seen from office windows. As we move up to Hart’s office, the background shifts accordingly, and effectively depicts the passing of day and night.

9 to 5 is a brilliant, light-hearted, fun-packed, night out that will leave you with a smile on your face. If you thought Girl Power began with the Spice Girls in the 1990s, you’re wrong. You can see the origins of it in 1978, when Dolly began writing these songs.

The show is at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow, until Saturday, 12 October. Get tickets HERE.