9 To 5 – The Musical

Milton Musical Society  Regent Centre, Christchurch Carole Gadsby 25 April 2024

9 to 5 The Musical was inspired by Queen of Country, Dolly Parton, whose face appeared numerous times throughout the production.  The show gives a high-energy, nostalgic journey through the challenges and triumphs of working women in the 1970s. With catchy tunes, witty dialogue, and a strong message of empowerment, this stage adaptation of the classic film captivates audiences from beginning to end.

At the very heart of the production are the three leading ladies namely, Violet, Doralee, and Judy, portrayed with remarkable talent and charisma. Each actress brings her own unique flair to the characters, breathing fresh life into these iconic roles.

Violet, played by Ellie Tripp with her commanding presence and powerhouse vocals effortlessly embodies the resilience and determination of a woman striving to break through into a man’s world.  From her poignant solo numbers to her fierce moments of defiance, Ellie captivates the audience with her performance. She effortlessly commanded the stage and left a lasting impression on all who witnessed her performance.

Next up we have the vivacious and sassy Doralee, portrayed By Emma Hardy. Though Dolly Parton’s portrayal of her is a tough act to follow, Emma’s portrayal, with her Southern charm, amazing voice and impeccable comedic timing, does not disappoint. Whether belting out show-stopping numbers or delivering side-splitting one-liners, she made the stage her own.

Last but not least, of the trio is the endearing Judy, brought to life by the talented Jess Barras with her journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Judy serves as the heart and soul of the production. Jess delivers a fantastic performance, seamlessly transitioning from moments of vulnerability to scenes of strength and resilience. Her heartfelt portrayal resonates deeply with audiences, making her character’s triumphs all the more glorious. Her number ‘Get Out and Stay Out’ was one of the best numbers in the show, she was a joy to watch.

The chemistry was obvious with these 3 girls, their performances electrifying, and their impact undeniable. Whether sharing the stage in rousing ensemble numbers or commanding solo moments, Ellie, Emma and Jess leave audiences cheering for more. Together, these three leading ladies form a powerhouse that elevates the production to new heights.

Their egotistical, obnoxious Boss Franklin Hart Junior played by Tim Berry gives a commanding performance in his role, although when it comes to villains, there is nothing better than a revolting, misogynistic boss. Tim is a great actor and his physical comedy and cartoonish villainy evoked laughter from everyone whilst he was on stage.

Roz, played by Julie Gower is a horribly snide co-worker with an obsessive fixation on her boss. However, no matter how much you dislike her character, there is no denying that “Heart to Hart” was a comedic genius that brought the audience to tears with laughter.

The ensemble who also doubled up in many parts was an asset to this show and they all contributed to its success in many ways. Chris Meineck as Jo who pursued Violet relentlessly was believable in his adoration of Violet and Sam Sheppard as Dwayne the partner of Doralee was equally well cast in his role.

The Creative team under the direction of Olwen Adams and Holly Dervan did a superb job in bringing this to the Regent stage, the Producer Jay Dervan and the Choreographer assisted in making this a production worth watching. I thought the choreography was innovative and different.

The Orchestra under the direction of Alastair Hume was flawlessly performed enhancing the overall theatrical experience. One must mention the Pit Singers/Choir this is certainly an asset to any live show.

There were a few issues with the lighting and scenery changes on opening night but it did not detract in any way from the overall enjoyment of the audience.  In general, the whole stage management was done with finesse and swiftness, I can only commend them on relentless scene changes.

This was a strong cast fully committed to the production. The voices and American accents were variable, but this production has it where it matters and was a pleasure to watch.

9 to 5: The Musical is a must-see theatrical experience that entertains, inspires, and empowers. With its unforgettable performances, timeless themes, and infectious energy, it’s a production that will leave you dancing in the aisles and cheering for more. So grab your coworkers, punch out of the office, and treat yourself to a night of laughter, music, and unforgettable entertainment. You won’t regret it. It plays until Saturday 27th April.