9 to 5 @ Milton Keynes Theatre 24.09.2019

Dolly Parton’s musical 9 to 5 is in MK and what a way to spend an evening!

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There really isn’t much a girl who grew up in the 90’s and in suburban Milton Keynes has in common with Dolly Parton or country music.

It never really existed for me, except in a vision entirely modelled on what Dolly Parton looks like.

With that image, it’s easy to take Dolly Parton, her music, the whole country scene and the wholesome America it has come from, with a pinch of salt.

It’s not real. It’s fake. Big hair. Fake tits. Crooning about love and losing it. Boo hoo right?

Gimme some of this instead!

Hang on a minute…

…Ben Folds Five have a country twang?! They are from North Carolina? The state that bumps boobs with Dolly’s home state of Tennessee?! OOooooh! Maybe I am a country fan. *mind blown*

But jokes aside, I’d have probably passed on going to see 9 to 5 The Musical if it wasn’t for a film I saw earlier in the year called¬†Dumplin’.

The Netflix coming-of-age film about confidence, breaking stereotypes (instead of just judging them from afar) and all that Dolly Parton music was really heartwarming… and relatable.

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So, along I went.

Standing in the press bar of Milton Keynes Theatre ready for the opening night of 9 to 5.

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I was going into this with no idea about what I was going to see, except a loosely educated guess that the Dolly Parton song 9 to 5 was going to be in it at some point!

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I was right. It was the first number in the show! ūüėā

Dolly Parton herself, albeit prerecorded for your viewing pleasure opens the show and plays a sort of narrator role, popping up at the beginning of each act and the finale.

Seeing her face really does get excitement levels increasing before the cast take over to tell the story of 9 to 5.

So, what did I think?

Well, much like that heartwarming film Dumplin’ it was IMPOSSIBLE to dislike¬†9 to 5 – The Musical.

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The plot surrounds three women as they battle to survive office work in the 1980s as female fish in an ocean ruled by male sharks.

And while you might say “pfft, that’s old fashioned. Times has changed since those sexist rife times” ask yourself, have they changed completely?

Is there still a gender pay gap? Is it still hard for a woman who have children, to work? Are women still subjected to unfair treatment or opinions due to their gender alone. HELL YES. HELL YES! AND HELL YES WE ARE!

Who takes the brunt of the hatred? Well it’s the most sexist piece of poop boss man, Franklin Hart Jr. played by Brian Conley.

But before you call for him to be tarred and feathered, wait a moment.

Brian Conley is a siren in this role. He is hilarious. He makes it so easy to hate him, as he plays the biggest chauvinistic pig, but it’s so easy to laugh at him too.

If you go along to see 9 to 5 while it is in town, see how he ends the first act and tell me if that’s not the funniest thing! ūüėÜ

What? A comical genius is funny when acting like a sexist pig? How is this funny? It’s 2019 not 1980!?

Well, you know the women are going to get the better of him.

And hopefully it’s only a matter of time on stage as in real life before we can say we have found our sweet spot too. Not where we are fighting to win equality but just a place where it exists.

I think this nearly 40 year old musical still has a current relevance and still a lesson for us all. Man and woman and every beautiful thing we are in-between.

 

I had been 90s fangirling and really hoping to see Louise Redknapp (AHH ETERNAL!) in her role of Violet Newstead but it was understudy Laura Tyrer who lead the way for the story for us.

Well done on your debut performance Laura – You were so fab!

In fact, the three leading ladies Laura Tyrer, Amber Davies (who won Love Island a couple of years ago) and Georgina Castle were all incredible.

Each playing a different but equally strong woman with different backgrounds, different goals and different gripes at the unfair sexist world around them.

They are a powerhouse trio!

Amber Davies who might not have a ton of professional experience gives a dazzling performance as Judy Bernly. She’s got some cracking lungs too.

Georgina Castle who plays Doralee Rhodes is just incredible!

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What a character, what a performer that plays her, gush gush gush! She’s just amazing and deserves all the praise.

She’s also the character who is most comparable to Dolly Parton, DUH probably because Dolly Parton played Doralee Rhodes herself in the 1980 film 9 to 5 that the musical is based upon. Woah!

I honestly thought before today that 9 to 5 was just a Dolly Parton song and was totally unaware of a film that it came from. Did you know? Have you seen it?

But the reason she won my heart is because, Dolly Parton/Georgina Castle/Doralee Rhodes, whichever you want to see them as in that role, has the perfect lesson for us all.

It’s that same yummy country wholesome, warm in the middle feeling that I felt when watching Dumplin’ and when I heard all that Dolly Parton music that was in it.

And while I might not be ready to become the next big country music fan, there’s definitely something more there than meets the eye.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.¬†

Dolly said something along the lines of “Don’t assume I’m shallow, I run true and deep” and how true.

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9 to 5 is at Milton Keynes Theatre 24 ‚Äď 28 September 2019.

For full transparency, tickets to the show were kindly gifted to me from Milton Keynes Theatre. 

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