VIDEO: Men will love Dolly Parton's 9 To 5 at Hall for Cornwall, honest
IF YOU'RE a man, the idea of seeing Dolly Parton's musical 9 To 5 at the Hall for Cornwall this month is possibly tantamount to castration by theatre.
But, hang on, you will end up loving it, according to one of the show's stars.
Natalie Casey, well-known for her starring roles in Hollyoaks and Two Pints Of Lager And A packet Of Crisps, said: "What's brilliant is when couples come to the show and you can see the blokes rolling their eyes at the beginning. Come the end, they're the first ones up and joining in.
"A lot of people have problems with musical theatre as often there's no 'proper' acting, just songs being shoehorned in, but this has real drama too."
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Natalie is joined by Bonnie Langford, comedian Jackie Clune and Mark Moraghan in a musical which centres on three office workers who turn the tables on their sexist boss and show him they're stronger than he thinks. It's outrageous, thought-provoking and even a little romantic.
"It's so rare to appear in a show where there are three female leads," Natalie told me. "This show is worth doing if only one woman says at the end, 'do you know what, I'm not going to take it anymore'."
Natalie – who still holds the Guinness world record for being Britain's youngest recording artist (remember Chick Chick Chicken?) – plays Judy Bernly, portrayed by Jane Fonda in the original film. She starts off all downtrodden but gains in confidence when she joins the office after her husband leaves her for a younger woman. After a chat with Natalie, it's hard to imagine this ballsy northerner playing mousey. She loves a swear, meaning I can't use most of her quotes – she even asked my what the eff word looks like in shorthand.
"I made a conscious decision a couple of years ago to do more theatre. I love TV but there's something about theatre that separates the men from the boys. If you can't act, they won't clap!
"A lot of people tend to be a bit sniffy about comedy, but it's not easy getting a laugh out of 1,200 people. There's a science to the timing of it, which is something I'm honing now. I've just gone from working with Mike Leigh (Abigail's Party at the Menier Chocolate Factory) to Dolly Parton. I can die happy."
Natalie has just had a brush with the tabloids after pictures of her wearing a see-through dress were splashed all over the more garish papers.
"It must be a slow news week if my nipples are hitting headlines. What amazed me, is how the Daily Mail writer was shocked I wasn't wearing a bra. It's fashion, bitch!"
If only there were more like Natalie – as refreshingly in your face as this fun, quietly feminist musical.
9 To 5 The Musical will be at Hall for Cornwall from Monday, March 11 to Saturday, March 16, performances are at 7.30pm with 2.30pm matinees on Thursday and Saturday. For tickets call 01872 262466 or book online at www.hallforcornwall.co.uk