9 to 5 The Musical

Celebs were out in abundance at Manchesters Opera House this week as they turned up to see the UK premiere of 9 to 5 the Musical.

By Manchester's Finest | 18 October 2012

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Celebs were out in abundance at Manchesters Opera House this week as they turned up to see the UK premiere of 9 to 5 the Musical.

Current and former Coronation Street stars including Cath Tyldesley, Ben Price, and Tina O’Brien, joined former Brookside star Claire Sweeney, X Factor’s Carolynne Poole and Happy Mondays powerhouse Rowetta (who arrived complete with Stetson)!

9 to 5 The Musical is the fourth production to open in Manchester, as part of The Ambassador Theatre Group’s ‘Manchester Gets it First’ initiative, the company’s commitment to bringing the biggest new musicals and plays to Manchester before London and other major cities. It follows in the footsteps of Ghost – The Musical, All New People starring Zach Braff and Monkee Business.

 Based on the hit 1980 movie this major new tour stars Natalie Casey as Judy Bernly, Jackie Clune as Violet Newstead, and Amy Lennox as Doralee Rhodes- a trio of office workers who turn the tables on their sexist, lying bigot of a boss Franklyn Hart, played by Ben Richards.

From the moment you heard the first few beats of the title track the audience was toe – tapping away enjoying the slick opening number which introduced the main characters as they went about their morning routine.

There had been rumours of Dolly Parton, the original 9 to 5 movie star putting in an appearance on the night but unfortunately her cowboy boots stayed firmly in Dollywood. Despite not being there in the flesh there was a whole lotta Dolly on show as the country and western singer wrote the music and the lyrics for the musical along with appearing on a video that projected her onto the face of a huge clock hovering above the stage – giving her ‘straight talkin’ comments on the action below.

Taking on Miss P’s role is a big ask for anyone but Amy Lennox meets the challenge and more. Similar to Parton Lennox has a tiny frame and a huge voice playing the role of Darlene with heart and soul and a little bit of Texas charm!

Natalie Casey and Jackie Clune both add to this tight trio giving strong performances, Casey impressing with her solo Get Out and Stay Out and Clune managing to get across the frustration of trying to be a successful woman in a man’s world.

The Bill’s Ben Richards excels as egotistical boss Hart oozing the swagger and chauvinistic edge the part requires. Both his musical theatre and acting background come into play here as Richards manages to make Hart a character you can laugh at without it coming across caricature.

Watch out for an eye-popping display from Bonnie Langford as Hart’s loyal secretary Roz. At 48 Langford looks incredible as she strips off to a Basque and suspenders in a dream sequence. Her energy is to be applauded time and time again and how she manages to sing upside down whilst clinging onto Ben Richards leg is something short of magnificent!

A great feel-good production containing a mix of acting, comedy and 18 original Dolly Parton numbers, including those from her last two albums Backwoods Barbie, Shine Like the Sun and Let Love Grow.

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