London Theatre Review: A Dolly Parton special full of love and fun

As I headed to the theatre, I wondered if I was more looking forward to seeing the musical 9 to 5 or to having the "Savoy experience". For the uninitiated, the West End's Savoy Theatre is a 20-minute walk from Waterloo  perfect for us South Londoners  and the experience starts as you get nearby. The theatre is tucked in beside the Savoy Hotel in the Strand and you soon see that it's beautiful, quirky and always a treat to visit.  

London Theatre Review: A Dolly Parton special full of love and fun
9 to 5 now playing at The Savoy in London.

A West End theatre review of 9 to 5 The Musical

As many of the audience clearly already knew, this musical was inspired by the well-loved film starring Dolly Parton, and this production, in particular, felt a bit like a tribute to Dolly, which was lovely. Had you not seen the film, things might have been a little confusing and some of the sexist references at the beginning may have been a bit much, but the show plays out and resolves well.

The show itself is full of energy and I don’t think the cast could do any more to convince us they were having a great time and that they were committed to making it a great night for us. The sets were fab and the complicated scene changes/choreographed moves involving set went pretty much to plan. It took me ages to realise that Bonnie Langford was still in the musical (I was too far back in the dress circle to make a positive identification until well into the show). She and Brian Conley really added an extra dimension, with their almost-panto asides to the audience and hilarious physical theatre moments.

To be fair, Violet, Judy and Doralee all had cracking voices and gave great performances. It was a shame that at points, the sound levels seemed to be variable (sometimes too loud, sometimes too quiet) and this became a distraction. Saying that, what a show! The "9 to 5" musical number itself just shook the auditorium and you could see the love pouring from the audience to the stage, and back again. The finale left me wanting more and attempting a bit of a sing-a-long as the whole cast threw their full efforts and energy into it.

One treat for me was the way Dolly Parton narrated the show and added her usual sparkle to the whole production. She never seems to take herself seriously and her appearances (on screen) just helped to keep the pace up and the connection to the original version. You could see people’s faces light up when the screens did.

Tips on ordering drinks at the Savoy Theatre in London

The Savoy has an innovative way of ordering drinks/snacks that I would advise you to try, and though there were some teething troubles initially, I’d imagine this will be popular. Instead of ordering at the bar for your interval drinks (£9.40 for a small glass of white wine) you can order from your seats (£7 for variety box with 187ml mini bottle plus crisps and raisins delivered to you). Apparently, the difference is to do with having a glass instead of plastic. You choose. 

London's 9 to 5 musical to get David Hasselhoff next month!

It was recently announced that former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff will be joining the cast of 9 to 5 The Musical next month! Be sure to get your tickets early if you want to see the Hollywood star play Franklin Hart Jr from 2 December 2019 until 8 February 2020. Tickets on sale now from £24 and up!

Carole Lovstrom

Carole has been interested in theatre and circus for many years. She now blogs for View From the Cheap Seats and London Theatre Direct when she gets the chance.

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