On our London day trip last month we had planned to see Tina the Musical. However, when both the actress playing Tina and her understudies were taken ill it became a bit of a frantic dash to find tickets for a show. And to my surprise finding last minute tickets to a Saturday matinee in the West End wasn’t actually that difficult.
After receiving the email saying the show was cancelled and conveniently turning the corner onto the Strand, we were greeted by the ‘9 to 5’ marquee and the spotless facade of the Savoy. The very friendly box office staff were incredibly understanding about our situation and gave us a generous discount on our tickets, as well as upgrading us to ‘Dolly’s VIP’ package.
Overall, I was really impressed with both the customer service of the Savoy and Encore tickets, from whom we bought the Tina tickets. Encore called and emailed letting us know that we would receive a full refund on the tickets that week, and this put us at ease knowing we could buy 9 to 5 tickets as we would be completely refunded.
After getting our tickets sorted we walked over to Covent Garden to have lunch. We ended up getting the last available table in Buns & Buns and had the most delicious sourdough margarita pizza. Then we trotted with full bellies back to the Savoy, traded in our VIP package tickets for Moet champagne and chocolates and took our seats for the show.
We sat down in the stalls and had an amazing view of the stage. Compared to other London theatres, the Savoy is relatively small which made the performance so much more intimate as the space and staging were so carefully considered.
I really didn’t know what to expect from the show, I’ve seen the original 1980 film a few times but who could compare to the Queen of Country herself. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. I loved the show, it maintained a level of comedy and yet was able to address serious issues at the same time. In the age of the #MeToo movement, 9 to 5 is more relevant than ever. While the musical best aligns to the comedy genre it discusses workplace harassment, women’s rights, and the everyday sexism faced by women. Three employees working for a big corporate firm face sexism from their boss, as well as male staffers, and female employees within the firm.
Natalie McQueen’s portrayal of Dolly’s character, Doralee Rhodes, was so authentic and her southern accent is one of the best I’ve heard from a British actress. The show closely followed the storyline of the film, with a few changes, and had a mix of original music written by Dolly for the show and some of her country classics like ‘Backwoods Barbie’ and of course ‘9 to 5’. One of my favourite things about West End and Broadway shows is that they render such an raw emotion as compared with the film. Soliloquies and solos brought more from the characters to the audience and these were some of my favourite scenes.
Roz, the Mr Hart’s admin assistant , was one of the characters not fully developed in the film. In the musical however, Bonnie Langford’s performance made Roz one of the most lovable characters in the show. Her solo ‘Hart to Hart’ was perhaps the funniest number, its on Spotify if you want to hear it, and she brought such an energy to a seemingly overused character type.
Another of my favourite numbers was Natalie McQueen’s ‘Backwoods Barbie’. I loved that there were a couple of classic Dolly numbers in the show and this one, performed by Doralee, developed a sense of empathy for an already extremely lovable character. The shows casting team did a brilliant job and every actor was matched to their character perfectly.
‘9 to 5’ was an absolutely brilliant show that I am so so glad we had the opportunity to see. It rekindled my love of the West End and I am dying to get back down to the Big Smoke to see another production soon. I plan on writing more theatre reviews and seeing more shows both here in Norwich and in the West End. And subsequently, have popped together a ‘Theatre‘ page with all my theatre reviews as well as few arts and culture posts as well.
Also I wanted to add that while I have done sponsored theatre posts in the past, this post is in no way sponsored, commissioned, or endorsed by 9 to 5 or the Savoy Theatre.