9 to 5 is, unsurprisingly, the Dolly Parton musical. Don’t know who Dolly is? Shame on you. But also, don’t worry about it as the show also comes complete with a decent storyline. Set in a 1979 secretarial pool for a large, faceless company, the narrative follows three plucky ladies each from different walks of life. Though each has her own issues, they all come together to fight the evil male chauvinist pig boss that instantiates the corporate male patriarchy. Also there's singing, lots of singing.
There was lots to like about tonight's performance. I loved the outfits, the hairstyles, the accents and the music. I also loved the energy and the enthusiasm. The big group numbers were full and joyful, and the actors were clearly enjoying themselves - particularly Dave Crewe, playing big boss Franklin Hart, who did a good job of being a complete sleazeball.
The acting, singing and live music was also solid throughout, keeping the whole thing pacy and upbeat. Special mention has to go to Frankie Alexandra, who really shone as Violet (one of the lead roles). Alexandra commanded the stage with her presence and brought the songs together with her West End-style voice: a standout performance.
It was a good lot of fun, which is why I feel able to also point out a few of the flaws. There were some problems with the sound and lighting; some voices coming out too loud, some lights not coming on on time, that sort of thing. Also occasionally the timing of the conversations and the comic pacing was just a little off, with characters not quite reacting to each other properly. I only mention this as OXOPS clearly have it in them and I suspect that this was first night symptom which will disappear with practice.
Overall, I didn’t come out looking for a 100% polished West End hit. I came out looking for good laughs, good fun and good music, and OXOPS fully delivered on this.