Review: 9 to 5 The Musical at the Wales Millennium Centre

"I'm just a backwoods Barbie
In a push-up bra and heels
I might look artificial, but where it counts I'm real
Yes I can see how I could be misjudged upon first glance
But even backwoods Barbies deserve a second chance"

Dolly Parton is such a treasure, I've always had a real soft spot for her. After watching an interview or two with Dolly it's impossible not to warm to this smart and savvy businesswoman who has worked her way up from nothing, but always remained humble. She radiates charm and always champions being true to yourself. With Dolly's name at the top of the bright, glittering gold posters dotted around town plus the intriguing addition of a past Love Island winner in one of the main roles, 9 to 5 was a musical I knew I wouldn't want to miss.

9 to 5 features original music and lyrics by Dolly and is based on the 1980 film of the same name. Facing an excruciatingly awful amount of sexism and sexual harassment in work, mostly from their atrocious boss Mr Hart, three female employees end up kidnapping him and taking over the company by themselves. A lot of the content was very fitting for the current social climate, in the wake of what's been going on with the #metoo movement and the on-going issues with gender pay gap. As is touched upon in the show, we've come a long way but there's still, infuriatingly, a long way to go.

It's probably for this reason that the humour in the show didn't sit right with some people in the audience and I do understand why - some parts with the lecherous Hart made me cringe badly and I didn't find them funny at all. I wouldn't say I was offended and I understood that he was meant to be the villain, but when the audience were in hysterics at his gross antics I wasn't feeling it and found those bits quite crass and juvenile (not that my sense of humour is exactly high brow...!).

For me, the funniest parts of the show came from the three female leads, who were enormously talented and a delight to watch. I adored the character of Doralee, played by Georgina Castle. Her take on the lovable but misunderstood Southern blonde captured the spirit of Dolly (who played Doralee in the film) so perfectly. Commendable comic timing too. Caroline Sheen was great as the ballsy, ambitious Violet, a widow who has dreams of becoming the CEO of the business. I enjoyed getting to know her character more as the show went on and we saw a softer side to her as she contemplates letting another man into her life.

Amber Davies was the only actor I was familiar with and she was exceptional as the young and naive Judy. When she belted out "Get Out and Stay Out" all I could think of was how she could kill a number like 'Defying Gravity' or 'On My Own'. For someone so tiny, she was an absolute vocal powerhouse! I think she will go on to do amazing things, she wasn't just an amazing singer but also acted the part so well and made you call in love with Judy as she comes out of her shell and proves herself to be a multi-dimensional character with a super sassy side. Love Island won't be what comes to mind when I hear the name Amber Davies anymore.

Dolly Parton makes a few cameos through pre-recorded video clips and she had me in stitches as well. I particularly loved 'If you liked the show, remember to post about it on social media. If you didn't like it, keep ya mouth shut!'. 

The story-line was entertaining from start to finish. There were touching scenes, there were catchy songs, there were some completely bizarre bits - as I've already mentioned, some of these I wasn't a fan of but I was still entertained. I'd rather be anything but bored in a show and there was nothing about this show that was boring. Choreography and costumes were brilliant and coupled with the slick set design, it felt like it had a really high production value. A very shiny and glitzy show with so much joy and energy to it - I was seriously impressed.

9 to 5 is showing in Cardiff at the Wales Millennium Centre until Saturday 2nd November!

Note - invited in return for press tickets


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