Review: 9 to 5 launches with love and laughter at QPAC

9 to 5 Casey Donovan Dolly Parton at QPAC
Image: David Hooley

The Brisbane season of Dolly Partons 9 to 5 kicked off at QPAC last night to a standing ovation as Casey Donovan stole the show. 

Featuring music by Dolly Parton the hit musical had the audience enthralled from start to finish.

And each of the leading ladies shone flawlessly in their roles

Dolly Parton brings 9 to 5 to life on stage at QPAC

It’s been 42 years since Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin brought 9 to 5 to life on screen.

With their message of female empowerment and equality vitally important back then, the message still resonates with a modern audience.

Unexpectedly Dolly herself made a special appearance to open and close the show, adding an extra special touch to an already outstanding show.

Appearing via video the singer introduced our leading ladies and set the scene for the show.

The rest was delivered by this powerful and dynamic cast.

Set in 1980’s America, Violet, Doralee and Judy are brought together by their very male dominated workplace.

Chronically overlooked Violet (Marina Prior) manages her department. While the continually objectified Doralee (Erin Clare, originally play by Parton) is scorned by her co-workers and lusted after by their boss Franklin Hart Jnr (Eddie Perfect).

Enter Judy Bernly (Casey Donovan) the dejected housewife recently abandoned by her husband Dick, who left her for a younger woman.

The trio are overseen by the domineering and obsessive Roz Keith (Caroline O’Connor).

As Judy must find her way in the workforce, Violet fights to be seen and Doralee struggles to be understood the trio of women together fight to bring down the man that dominates their lives.

9 to 5 stars deliver Dolly Parton empowerment

Each of the leading ladies in 9 to 5 shine in their own right as they deliver the empowering messages of the show.

Marina Prior as Violet is sharp, witty with perfect comic timing and an exceptional voice.

Her delivery is flawless as she leads the group.

Erin Clare has big shoes to fill in the role of Doralee.

However she strikes the perfect balance of paying homage to the role made famous by Dolly Parton, whilst still making it her own.

Not to be forgotten however is the force to be reckoned with that is Caroline O’Connor.

This Aussie legend brings a massive energy to the stage very nearly upstaging everyone.

Her hilariously passionate unrequited love story with Franklin Hart Jnr is exceptional as is her solo number dedicated to him.

And whilst all of the leading ladies bring magic to the stage, there is one who just manages to steal the show.

Casey Donovan steals the show

With so many talented women commanding the stage it’s hard to pick a standout in 9 to 5.

That is until Casey Donovan is delivered her moment to truly shine.

Who would have thought almost twenty years ago that the timid young woman with the incredible voice would become such a musical theatre powerhouse?

But Casey Donovan is a flawless wonder in her role as Judy Bernly.

Meek and demure for the first half, her character is so far removed from the Casey Donovan we know and love.

But as the character grows and develops she slowly sheds her skin.

Her defining moment comes as she delivers her emotional rebuttal to her ex-husband with the song Get Out And Stay Out.

In true Casey Donovan style it’s a slow build as she belts out this powerful ballad.

So powerful in fact that many audience members rose to their feet to applaud the star as she finished.

It was an exceptional performance that proved why Casey still has one of the most powerful voices in the country.

Casey spoke to Qnews ahead of her arrival in Brisbane and gushed about getting to perform the song.

“I get to sing a very beautiful song called Get Out and Stay Out which is Judy finally reaching the pinnacle of her part in the arc. Which is her stepping into her power and finding her worth and not being used as a door mat anymore by her ex husband Dick.”

Men take a backseat in 9 to 5

It’s refreshing to see a show with women commanding the narrative.

From start to finish the men in 9 to 5 take a back seat to the story of the women.

Despite a strong cast of men filling the secondary characters they don’t hold a candle to these strong and talented leading ladies.

However the devastatingly distracting mail boy, adorned in the worlds tightest short shorts certainly earns an honourable mention for MVP of the men.

Although the men are often used as decoration for the set, the set itself deserves a mention.

From start to finish the bright set seamlessly brings each scene to life as pieces fly in and out.

Set pieces swing and change in mere moments creating a colourful and dynamic setting for this larger than life musical.

From the set to the music and of course the superb talent, 9 to 5 is a musical not to be missed.

9 to 5 will continue to run at QPAC until July 2nd.

Book your tickets online HERE.

Watch our chat with Casey Donovan ahead of the 9 to 5 debut in Brisbane last week below.

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Michael James
Michael James

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

1 Comment

  1. Peter Turner
    6 June 2022

    I can’t wait to see Casey Donovan in 9 to 5.

    She steals whatever show she tackles.

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