9 to 5 the Musical UK Tour Review - Mayflower Southampton

Working 9-5, what a way to make a living. That is if you're not a woman who has to navigate the misogyny of the workplace whilst juggling childcare, home life and the barriers to job progression. 9 to 5 The Musical is a show that has been around in some form or other for 40 years, you could hope that there would be some real progression in that time. But with the rise of the #MeToo movement and the gender pay gap still existing, it seems like the show is more relevant than ever. 

Opening the UK tour in Southampton at the Mayflower Theatre, Max and I were fortunate enough to tumble out of bed and stumble to the theatre for a rip roaring show that had the audience on their feet clapping and cheering. 

With songs by the formidable Dolly Parton, who even managed to star in the show herself via the magic of video, you could be pushed to think that this is another jukebox musical with a flimsy storyline. But you will find yourself completely wrong. Whilst Dolly penned all the songs herself, it's hard not to tap your toes and dance in your seat to the music whilst following the story about women empowerment and taking back control of your own destiny. With a quintessential country twang in such songs as "Backwoods Barbie" alongside the power ballad of "Get Out and Stay Out" there is something to appeal to every audience member. 

Following the lives of Violet (Louise Redknapp), Doralee (Stephanie Chandos) and Judy (Vivian Panka), you are thrown into a story of women who dare to be different, want to stand up for themselves and others, and aren't willing to take no for an answer. The three leading ladies honestly stole the show and each of them brought emotion, humour and humanity to their characters. Both myself and Max were whooping and cheering with each success they had. Louise Redknapp embodied Violet perfectly, the aspiring CEO who just wanted to get the promotion she fairly deserved, whilst Vivian Panka left me gobsmacked by her vocal talents as the young Judy, who's husband ran away with the assistant. Joining the trio was Stephanie Chandos who blew me away as Doralee, an obvious imitation of Dolly herself, who just wants to become a country and western singer and be taken seriously.  

Alongside this trio of great women was a cast that worked seamlessly together. Julia J Nagle played the office spy Roz, who seemed to suck out the fun of work and wanted to impress the boss she obviously adored. Her rendition of "Heart to Hart" had the audience in stitches and her comedic timing was just brilliant. Sean Needham took to the stage as Franklin Hart Jr, the boss that was truly a villain to beat all pantomime villains. At one point it seemed the audience might start booing him! I don't want to give too much of the show away, but let's just say he does a lot of hanging about that will have the audience roaring with laughter. 

Whilst I wouldn't say that 9 to 5 is a completely family based show, I would say that it's great for those 10+ at the most. There is a touch of swearing, a fair amount of sexual references and some scenes that might leave little ones with more questions than answers! It's a great show to open up the conversation on how society still portrays women in the workplace, and has a belting soundtrack to help you learn all you need to know. 

9 to 5 is one of those shows that is very much needed at this time. With theatre's reopening and people looking for some light relief in the theatre's you would be hard beat by heading to see this show. It ticks all the boxes of a good storyline, has great songs and brilliant acting. It's time to pour yourself a cup of ambition, tumble out of bed and head to the theatre as this show packs a punch and will bring a smile to your face. 

Running at the Mayflower until 4th September, 9 to 5 the Musical is then heading on a UK tour and it's one not to miss.  

*Note we were gifted tickets for the purpose of our review. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

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