9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL AT THE NEW ALEXANDRA THEATRE, BIRMINGHAM
Theatre Run: 17 December 2012 - 5 Jan 2013
Previewed by Kyle Pedley
This Friday saw the press launch for 9 to 5: The Musical prior to it’s UK touring run, including a Christmas tenure at the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham beginning December 14.
On hand to preview the show were its cast, including Footballers Wives and The Bill alumni Ben Richards, West End veteran Jackie Clune, Natalie Casey who most will know from Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and Television and Theatre supremo Bonnie Langford, and director Jeff Calhoun who brought a winning enthusiasm and self-deprecating charm to the launch very much in-line with what one has come to expect from Ms. Parton herself.
The cast performed four songs from the show, which takes the hits of Dolly Parton (most notably from her last two albums Backwoods Barbie and Better Day) as well as some new additions, and moulds them into the story of the 1980 movie of the same name. Describing the show as ‘funny’, ‘sexy’ and ‘fantabulous’ (by an impressively flexible Ms. Langford), everyone involved seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves, and the songs performed crackled with spark, energy and campy fun, in particular a brilliantly improvised rendition of Act 1 closer ‘Shine Like the Sun’ and of course an obligatory yet thoroughly satisfying take on the titular, Oscar-nominated ‘9 to 5’ itself.
From what was gleaned from the preview, the show looks set to be a winning and vibrant outing with an impressive cast which director Calhoun described as ‘the most versatile’ ensemble the show has had. Experienced West End performer Amy Lennox (who I previously saw giving a brilliant performance understudying the role of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: The Musical in London) gave a tender, pitch-perfect rendition of ‘Backwoods Barbie’, a witty ballad about there being brains-behind-the-boobs, and as per the entire cast, with a faultless accent to boot. There was also a warming introduction to local Birmingham talent Sinead Kenny, who is joining the company in her first theatre engagement since graduating from Arts Educational, London earlier this year.
With a keen emphasis on expecting a much showier and grander experience when the production eventually rolls out onto stage (after a hilarious anecdote of how some American press have in the past mistook such press previews as being the show itself), 9 to 5 looks set to be the perfect prospect for a Christmas musical and if nothing else, a whole lot of fun set to some brilliantly written and perfectly executed music with both brains and heart.
9 to 5: The Musical will be running from Monday December 17th 2012 through to January 5th 2013 at the New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham, and you can reserve your tickets over by clicking HERE.