9 to 5

5 Sep

9 TO 5 The Musical
Music and Lyrics by Dolly Parton
Book by Patricia Resnick
Upstairs at the Gatehouse.
Dolly Parton wrote the songs for this. A show that is brash, busty with a loud voice just like her. The book by Patricia Resnick is about a bunch of girls working in an office and comes down heavily on the sexist, bullying, patronising male chauvinist pig of a boss, probably the biggest argument for feminine equality. Three brilliant overlooked young women manage to get the best of this most unpleasant character
The story is taken from the film made by Jane Fonda’s production company. Dolly Parton was put into the movie as Doralee at Fonda’s suggestion to give a feeling of ‘country’. Parton wrote the number 9 to 5 which became a number one hit. She then composed another 14 numbers for the musical. These are the ones we see at the Gatehouse. There were others that have been discarded. One I particularly liked was ‘Backwoods Barbie’ sung by Louise Olley as she describes herself. One remembers her famous line ‘It costs a lot of money to look as cheap as me.’ Doralee is almost raped by her boss. He thinks that is all she is good for because of her feminine looks and because she is a hillbilly and spreads the rumour that she is his mistress
Judy, played by Amanda Coutts is the deserted wife with confidence destroyed by her unfaithful husband. She is overdressed and unable to defend herself, feeling she is worthless. Pippa Winslow plays Violet, the top girl who gets most of the work done, but gets overlooked for her well-deserved promotion because the vile Mr Hart gives all the plum jobs to his golfing cronies.
The crunch comes when one of the girls find out that all the men are getting three times the salary of the girls and she gets the sack for telling the others. All women are now aware of this situation. It was always ‘vulgar’ to talk about money. Now at last people are encouraged to disclose what they earn.
It is difficult to imagine any man with so much unpleasantness as Mr Hart, but Leo Sene convinces. Hart’s one admirer is Roz who gets a great number Heart to Hart which is hilariously performed by Samantha Giffard.
The hit song 9 to 5 opens the show and it is sung and danced by the entire company and tells us what jollity to expect. It is hugely energetic and well- choreographed by Chris Whittaker and musically directed by Oliver Hance.
This is a show that can bring joy to the heart of any woman who has suffered from a controlling and humiliating male. Producer Joseph Hodges is on a mission to bring out the most powerful feminist elements in the script as he felt it has been underplayed in previous productions.
It is a joy to watch and listen to and very very funny.

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