Theatre review: 9 to 5 the musical at Manchester Palace starring Louise Rednapp, Love Island's Amber Davies and Georgina Castle

Louise Rednapp in 9 to 5
Louise Rednapp in 9 to 5

There was no cup of ambition needed to make the invigorating musical 9 to 5 come to life.

From the moment Louise Rednapp, Amber Davies and Georgina Castle strutted on to the stage the atmosphere popped and fizzled with a huge dose of female empowerment.

Amber Davies in 9 to 5

Amber Davies in 9 to 5

Timid Judy Bernly played by Davies has just been dumped by her husband for his secretary, a younger woman called Mindi...."With an I!"

"I just miss Dick" she wails, much to the amusement of the audience, before explaining that is her cheating ex-hubbies name.

Ambitious Violet Newstead, played by Redknapp is tired of being under appreciated, looked over and forced to train men who are then fast tracked to a promotion she just can't reach due to the fact she's a woman in a man's world.

And not just a man's world but a sleazy, sexist, boorish man's world in the name of her chauvinistic boss Franklin Hart Junior.

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While glamorous country girl Doralee Rhodes played by Castle is sick of not only being the object of married Hart's unwanted attention, but also being shunned by her female colleagues thanks to the lies he's spread that they are having an affair.

All three find themselves unlikely allies when Violet accidentally pours rat poisoning into Hart's coffee, leading them to hold him hostage and dress him up in bondage clothing - with hilarious results.

All three women deliver some stand out performances.

From Rednapp strutting the stage in a white trouser suit belting out One Of The Boys to her more vulnerable and tender rendition of Let Love Grow, duetted with her besotted colleague Joe to Castle's heartfelt Backwoods Barbie and Davies powerful Get Out and Stay Out.

Davies, well known for her stint on Love island, commands the stage with her empowered vocals. "What's got in to you?" asks her incredulous ex-husband who is used to her being a push-over.

"A back-bone" is her glorious reply.

Sean Needham delivers a humorous performance as the dastardly boss while Lucinda Lawrence brings great comedy to the stage in her un-self conscious portrayal of his besotted subordinate Roz.

The whole show is bookended with a pre-recorded message by the Queen of country Dolly Parton herself, 40 years after she wrote and starred in the show.

The blatant sexism parodied is somewhat uncomfortable to watch especially when in the era of #metoo we are left to ponder how much has really changed in all of that time.

To be frank, not enough it would seem, and it's enough to drive you crazy if you let it.

9 to 5 runs until Saturday September 21 - tickets here (we have no affiliate link)

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