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9 To 5: The Musical


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#91 Jamie Kenny

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 11:31 AM

"I Just Might" took place at the end of Judy's first day, the scene before Backwoods Barbie

#92 vertigo1

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 01:49 PM

.Bring Me Sunshine Nobody said 9 to 5 is not fun, the Broadway production was a lot of fun. Right now the UK production needs a lot of tightening to make it that fun night out show, last night seemed more like a chore a times to sit through than a froffy musical. Will the UK one find it's feet?  yes probably and i wish them all the best. To say they are not looking for awards etc is daft, the Broadway version got 14 drama desk nominations and 4 Tony Award nominations. It may be fluff but it (or did) used to have a very big heart and stand for something. As for the 'Sometimes theatre is just there to be enjoyed and not picked apart' comment well im dumbfounded. All theatre is there to be 'enjoyed' but all theatre will and should be picked apart since people are paying a lot to see it. If things don't work and casting is wrong etc then it SHOULD be mentioned... thats why critics are invited.

As for Natalie, can you honestly tell me that the performance you watched last night represented a sweet, demure, timid woman who is on the brink after her husband left her and is scared to raise her voice? HONESTLY?
Sorry but that was not her performance at all. If you have seen the film or the musical before you will know how the role is supposed to be played.

It makes no difference if Natalie gets laughs, of course she is going to, she is a comedy actress and did some very funny lines, however she is not that character at all.

As for Get Out and Stay Out, that song would get an applause whoever sang it and however well they sang it as its an 11 oclock number, big chorus building to it's climax as the woman takes control of her life. It was not for poor Natalie that people were applauding at the end of that song, anyone could have sung it.

That song every time i have seen it done before has had such an impact when acted and sung beautifully, shouting random words throughout the song and keep pretending to be crying so we cant hear the singing is not how it should be done. Natalie was not helped by the fact they have re staged it from New York with Natalie is now singing only one verse to him before he leaves (she used to make him stay and listen to every word before pushing him out of the door and going in to soaring final part). Calhoun also has Natalie singing the only verse with her ex on stage with her back turned to him......she is supposed to be confronting him but in this version it's like she is still scared of him. He also just walks off the stage rather than Judy throwing him out.

Also Nat did not get the biggest cheer at all, the 3 women came out and bowed together and got huge cheers.

It bothers me in this country so much that especially on our tours we seem to be perfectly willing to except sub par performances all because 'we like them in other stuff' or 'they made me laugh'. We seem to (with 'celebs') give them a pass when they cant sing well or are miscast. Sorry but when tickets are expensive i want a well cast and well directed show. I write and direct myself and run my own production company (as well as work as a theatre critic) and for ANYONE not to see such obvious miscasting really bothers me.

If you have not seen how Get Out and Stay Out should be performed then please watch Stephanie J Block from the Broadway production. Then tell me Natalie performed it well.

Get Out and Stay Out - Broadway


Jamie- Kenny
The whole scene before that song with the women in their own homes etc leading in to the song has gone as well. This is what i mean by the heart of the show has gone and instead its just become a campy comedy with very little soul. Other than a few ignoring her in work we dont see how upset Doralee is that she can't fit in (all her Husband and her moments are cut except in the opening). Anything with Violet's son has gone (except in the opening) and we only see Dick once briefly at the beginning and when he comes back for Get Out and Stay Out, the attachment to the women is missing, that's why (other than Natalie's performance of it) things like Get Out and Stay Out are not as powerful as they have been in the past

9 to 5 i am sure will be fun when it pulls itself together, and as i say i wish them all the best but right now it's not clicking at all and some direction choices etc need looking at straight away

#93 vertigo1

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 01:51 PM

Also i think the scene you are referring to missing (Judy trying to pull it together and show she can work there and be strong) is also gone, she does however get pulled by Hart a couple of times for messing up in work. Since Natalie chooses to play that comedy though it does not really resonate as anything other than a joke scene (he keeps getting her name wrong to the point that she gets her own name wrong)

#94 djp

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 03:43 PM

View PostBringMeSunshine, on 13 October 2012 - 09:25 AM, said:

I saw it last night and it was a joy from start to finish. Yes there were bits that didn't quite work but I thought the 3 girls, Bonnie & Ben were fantastic. Amy Lennox was fabulous, Jackie Clune was spot on & Natalie Casey brought the house down with her solo number.
The writer of the musical and original screenplay was in the audience and she must be very happy this morning. The whole audience were on their feet before the curtain even came up for the bows.
I loved it. I will go again. Sometimes theatre is just there to be enjoyed, not to be picked apart. 9-5 is not looking for Oliviers, it is what it is and what it is, is lots of fun!

Indeed only a tiny percentage of the audience will have seen the US show,  and UK audiences like different things to US ones,  so comparing the two is somewhat otiose. If the audience keep on cheering, and standing up you have a success. If they laugh as the scenary tries to kill the leads, notice that  half the cast are on a different continent to another,  and don't clap at the end,  you don't. The newspaper  critics may not like it, but they can't agree on 2 or 5 stars for lots of things at the moment  - which tells us more  about critics than what they are critiquing. Natalie has just played two similar characters in Paulette (Legally Blonde) and Angela (Abigail's Party) hilariously, and  I imagine she's there to do the same again .She sung brilliantly in Legally too , so the comment  that she can't sing is pretty incredible. Anyway will find out next week as I have a ticket for Wimbledon.

#95 BringMeSunshine

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 03:45 PM

I like how you have practically copy & pasted your response from another message board after somebody else had disagreed with your opinion.
Art is subjective. I liked it, you didn't.
You didn't like Natalie's interpretation, I did.
You went along with a view to watch every single light and stage direction, I went to sit back and enjoy myself which is exactly what I did.
Also, I've watched the Stephanie J Block video and it has not changed my enjoyment of Natalie's rendition one little bit.
To quote Damian Lewis after his recent Emmy triumph "I don't really believe in judging art" You obviously do and that's fine too. What a boring world it would be if we all had the same opinions.

#96 vertigo1

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 03:53 PM

So because many wont have seen or heard the US version we are supposed accept mediocre? awesome.

And last night the audience was full of friends and family especially in the stalls (nobody stood up in the circle or gallery at the end).

To try and say the critics will be wrong before a review even comes out is beyond daft.Critics don't have o agree as it is each critics opinion, we don't work as a pack. I never saw Natalie in Legally Blonde so can't comment but did see her in Fame and The Wedding Singer and she played the exact same kind of comedy she is doing here, so is she playing a role? no, she is doing what she does best, going for the big laugh anyway she can, good on her, all i am saying is she is miscast.

Also to anyone with a trained theatre eye they would know that last nights performance was not great, it was very very messy, as i have said i think they will pull it together, i was just simply reviewing a preview. As for Natalie if you like her doing the same kind of thing in each show then great, have a blast, for me i want to see the character she is been paid to play.

This is exactly what i said on my last post, UK audiences are way to easy to please, sometimes you have to demand a little more (like a fluid performance and a role played correctly) to be able to walk out of a theatre and know you had seen a good show.

#97 BringMeSunshine

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 03:57 PM

Well luckily for you there is nobody holding a gun to your head and forcing you to watch it again.
It's only entertainment, nobody died.

#98 djp

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 03:59 PM

View Postvertigo1, on 12 October 2012 - 11:50 PM, said:

Tonight me and my partner got last minute tickets to see the UK premiere (first preview) of 9 to 5 at the Manchester Opera House, thought i would share some thoughts.

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.

Production
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).

Cast
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.

Show
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!!!

Inter alia, your point about Roz suggests they have added a bit more irony to the UK production,  as its a UK  production. Why would you assume that the fact that an older  woman still has "knockout looks and moves" , could stop Hart not wanting her?  Soho,  lapdancing establishment's,  page 3,  and the divorce courts,  are full of evidence to the contrary - indeed genetics may drive things  that  way. The point may be to make it clearer how shallow he  is - not to support the thesis that its OK if the old partner is a bit wrinkley and arthritic.

#99 Jamiem

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 04:00 PM

View PostBringMeSunshine, on 13 October 2012 - 03:45 PM, said:

I like how you have practically copy & pasted your response from another message board after somebody else had disagreed with your opinion.
Art is subjective. I liked it, you didn't.
You didn't like Natalie's interpretation, I did.
You went along with a view to watch every single light and stage direction, I went to sit back and enjoy myself which is exactly what I did.
Also, I've watched the Stephanie J Block video and it has not changed my enjoyment of Natalie's rendition one little bit.
To quote Damian Lewis after his recent Emmy triumph "I don't really believe in judging art" You obviously do and that's fine too. What a boring world it would be if we all had the same opinions.
Damien Lewis is such a boring stage actor

#100 vertigo1

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 04:04 PM

BringmeSunshine of course i copied my post from another site,i pretty much thought i was talking to the same person (you just joined here and the person on Broadway World just joined).
I went to watch 9 to 5 to enjoy it, i just happen to work in this industry as does my partner so we see a lot more. If me pointing out the flaws instead of ignoring them makes me sound harsh or too critical then so be it, i would much rather be that way, i'm not the kind of person who watches a show and switches my brain to complete acceptance of everything.....sorry.

As i said, i think they will pull the show together, i think they had a very bumpy preview but in the end it will become something enjoyable, will it be great? no, the show never has been, is the casting perfect? no but im sure the people looking for a fun night and that only won't care. Sorry that i am very passionate about theatre and want it to reach it's best results, that's just me.

I am glad you enjoyed it, and you are right that it would be boring if we all had the same opinions, i have expressed mine, you expressed yours as much as saying it was 'fun', 2 different opinions is great, art is subjective, but to say art should not be judged is idiotic, especially when money is paid to experience 'art', without the 'judgment' some of the greatest painters, musicians, writers etc would not be a success, but i guess it's fine to judge.....if the judgment is all good right?




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