9 To 5: The Musical
Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:50 AM
The full company also includes Andrew Waldron, Ashley Andrews, Gemma Maclean, Hayley Ainsley, James Lacey, Lauren Stroud, Lisa Bridge, Lori Haley Fox, Mark Willshire, Marlon Moore, Nyroy Dixon, Persephone Fitzpatrick, Peter McPherson, Philip Bertioli, Sasi Strallen, Sinead Kenny and Tom Andrew Hargreaves.
Posted 05 October 2012 - 02:56 PM
Posted 12 October 2012 - 10:01 PM
Posted 12 October 2012 - 11:50 PM
First Preview things
The show started almost 30 mins late after a great talk from a very nervous director (Jeff Calhoun) who explained the cast had not had a full run with the set etc yet and explained the show might have to be stopped. He talked about Dolly and his excitement for the show. He also called the show the World Premiere of this whole new production of 9 to 5. It was great to see him and hear him talk very nice guy.
For a first preview (and i have been to many) this was by far the messiest first preview i have ever seen. Lights coming in and out at the wrong time, sets still been dragged on mid scene, props not working and Natalie Casey got hit on the head by a huge piece of scenery that was been flown in. The show needs a LOT of tightening, far to many pauses and awkward moments as well as missed cues, energy was kinda flat and the pacing was all over the place. We also had moments where you could hear the cast off stage talking mid scene when someones microphone was left on. They have a lot of work to do ready for next Tues press night. I advise anybody wanting to see it in Manchester to wait till after it's opened, ticket prices were no cheaper yet the show is not a finished show at the moment.
This is NOT a new production, apart from a few scene changes it's very much the US tour production and the US tour set. The set is basic but effective but at the same time very messy. People are always on stage every few mins moving things in and out and the transitions (visible) are not quick. Obviously they could not use the brilliant Broadway set that came up from the floor in a blink of an eye but this one seems like too many pieces that are holding things up. The lighting is basic and uninspiring (they could have had a lot of fun with One of the Boys and didn't). The sound was not great but thats clearly a first preview issue and will be sorted.
Most of the costumes are similar to the Broadway one, some of them however are new and ugly as sin.
If like me you HATE click track then brace yourself. So many moments of the ensemble singing have click underneath them. Even the band on the opening song 9 to 5 did not look like they were playing. It's inexcusable with a decent size ensemble to use so much click, that however is a UK thing and not just a 9 to 5 thing
The show curtain is the same as the US tour and is made up off different celebs and images from the 80s (looks great).
Such a mixed bag and such a strange experience that i think this has to be the oddest casting/choices i have ever seen.
Jackie Clune as Violet is Alison Janey, i don't mean similar....i mean identical, no difference at all, close your eyes and it's AJ. I have never seen anything like it, not one moment in the show felt like it was hers, it's just an imitation....even the singing which AJ was not exactly known for. However because AJ was so good in the show so was Jackie. She played it to perfection but should thank Miss Janey for the inspiration.
Amy Lennox as Doralee was pretty good, she has a great voice but she needs to have more fun, let her hair down. I think with a bit more of a push from her she could be great, at the moment she is getting lost a little in the background (side not, having her sing Backwards Barbie in such a conservative dress where her chest is totally covered made no sense)
Ben Richards is great as Hart, i was worried about his casting as he is such a good looking guy but he totally transforms. He was a stand out.
Bonnie Langford as Roz is a strange one, she gives it everything she has, some jokes land, some did not. However in Hart to Hart she is stripped down to sexy lingerie and doing a big acrobatic dance break (clearly put in to show she can still dance) but with her knock out figure and moves the whole point of Roz is lost. Hart is supposed to be turned off by her, but any heterosexual man who walked in on her looking as she did in her skimpy s would have loved it.
Natlaie Casey as Judy is giving (no exaggeration here) one of the worst performances i have ever seen in a professional musical. Now to be fair to her who i like on TV it's not all her fault as she didn't cast her. She is SO MISCAST that it's terrifying. Natalie is not feminine, she cant play demure or the put upon ex housewife she is supposed to play here.....so she doesn't. She does silly voices to get a laugh and completely misses the point of the character.....ive never seen anyone miss the point of a character so much before. Her American accent is shocking and she still sounds very northern (UK). She comes across hard edged at time (something Judy is not) and at other times a bit slow.....yes really. She also can not really sing and has a very flat voice.
Her big number Get Out and Stay Out was HORRIBLE. The singing was dreadful and it had no emotional pull at all (though to be fair some of the staging choices did not help her). At the end of the song when she had to belt she did OK, but the lead up was painful. Her movements on this song were also very chav. This a a big moment in the show where Judy stands up for herself but because the role was played so odd all the way through the show you felt nothing. She got a huge applause at the end but it was undeserved.
I have nothing against the girl, in fact she seems lovely but she is sinking the ship, the chemistry with her and the others is not there, and with that character missing in action and replaced with whatever the hell Natalie is doing it's ruining the show. I really think she should be replaced and quickly.I wish her well in other things but this is not right for her AT ALL, one of the all time worst casting choices.
The show was never great, it was pleasant and had a few good numbers but it never soared like it should. It was never quite funny enough, it was never quite empowering enough and it was never quite musically catchy enough. They had a chance to sort it out for the UK.....they haven't. The disastrous casting of Natalie aside the show still has many problems. Act 1 feels far too long. So many moments need tightening (a preview thing) but i feel that even with tightening they will never quite work. Act 2 moves much better but is far less fun.
Some scenes have been cut or tweaked from the US to here, sadly most involved moments of heart. The hospital scene is changed a bit (works fine), the ladies fantasy revenge moment has changed a lot (pretty good) some cuts were made in act 2 that knock the pacing out. Like on the US tour Dolly opens act 1 and act 2 to narrate (on video) and also in the finale (fun but unneeded).
The show is not bad, it has a lot of good things, many scenes are very funny, some full of smart wit and some songs (9 to 5, Shine Like The Sun, Backwards Barbie and Get Out) are divine, but none of them truly sored tonight, so much so the song i hate (Change It) became a highlight.
I am going back to see it next week and will do an official review, as it stands right now it's still very messy but i trust Calhoun (who's work i loved on Bonnie and Clyde) will tighten everything up. Some things however (some script and score issues and Natalie) can not be fixed.
9 to 5 will be a crowd pleaser, never a great show but fun. As of the first preview though it has a lot of work to do.
Well done however to the cast and crew for getting through a very shaky first preview, and also to Natalie who after having a huge piece of scenery lowered on her head came straight back on like a trooper.
Side note, for those who want to know about Merch they have Programs, Mugs, Pink Cowbody hats and BLONDE DOLLY WIGS FOR 12 QUID.....YES REALLY!!!
Posted 13 October 2012 - 12:13 AM
Would love to see this again once the show has been polished, but I think it will do well on the road. It is what it is, a good fun night out!
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Posted 13 October 2012 - 12:23 AM
Posted 13 October 2012 - 01:59 AM
No matter how much i like her though you can't cast someone like her to play such innocence and femininity when that is not her at all. I love the role of Judy and thought Block was great, her humor came out of how timid she was which was perfect, Casey does not have that at all. Get Out is such a HUGE vocal number and packed with heart, it did not happen tonight (the end of the song was better though. The director needs to try and save her performance and try and make her more reserved and softly spoken, more timid to make her transformation moment more satisfying.
Oddly enough with her kind of big humor i think she would have made a great Roz, that i would love to see.
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