Thomas W. Hodgkinson

9 to 5: The Musical

Book by Patricia Resnick and music and lyrics by Dolly Parton
Savoy Theatre, London

What happens when you start a show with a showstopper? In the case of this zesty revival of the feminist musical 9 to 5, it never quite matches the catchy eponymous opener, despite boasting music and lyrics (and some droll filmed narration) by the great Dolly Parton. This doesn’t much matter. The staging is stunning, the costumes are just so, and the cast give their all to this rousing tale of a smug dinosaur of a boss, the ironically named Mr Hart (Brian Conley), getting his comeuppance from three disgruntled employees: his brassy secretary (Natalie McQueen), the classy office supervisor (Caroline Sheen) and a clumsy newcomer (Amber Davies). Fans of Bonnie Langford will also get to see the old trooper pull off some eye-watering gymnastics as Hart’s besotted assistant. Adapted from the 1980 movie, the show wields a distinctly second-wave brand of feminism. A film sequel, apparently, is on its way. For now, this musical manifesto still works.