Review: 9 to 5, Playhouse

You can choose to view 9 to 5 in two different ways.

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The first, and most depressing, is that in the 32 years since the movie of the same name graced our screens, nothing much has changed. There are still a great many women who have stories about sleazy experiences in the workplace that would make the advances of villainous Franklyn J Hart look like a prudish choirboy flirting with his first crush, women still have to have more work experience and better qualifications than their male counterparts to be considered for a job and women are still paid, on average, less for the same job than men. All this on top of the fact that more women are graduating from universities than men and with better qualifications.

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Or, you can view 9 to 5 as an impish caper about the little guy sticking it to The Man. In which case, 9 to 5 is a bright, peppy, entertaining audience-friendly romp.

Working hard as she can to steal the show from her co-stars, Bonnie Langford puts in a dazzling performance but is more than matched by the rest of the ensemble for pizzaz, comic timing and ability.

Jackie Clune, Natalie Casey and Amy Lennox play the duplicitous trio of secretaries who find themselves in such hot water with the boss that they have no option but to remove him from the picture all together.

Clune’s in charge Violet is strong yet accessible and sympathetic to the audience, her romance with Joe is a charming part of the production. Natalie Casey’s nervous new girl Judy is well observed even if some of her comic traits are reminiscent of Casey’s most famous character Donna, from Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. While Amy Lennox rises admirably to the challenge of portraying Dolly Parton’s original role, Doralee.

Ben Richard’s evil Hart is an excellent foil to the trio, his lascivious Here for You in the first act warming the audience into the action to come.

If there’s one cloud on the horizon, it’s Dolly Parton’s chirpy video narration, which isn’t half like the baby sitting in the sun from the Teletubbies. It’s a little bit of marmite that will either float your boat or sink it like a stone.

• Run ends Saturday