Posts Tagged ‘Louise Olley’

This 2009 musical adaptation of the 1980 film of the same name only survived four months on Broadway and has yet to make it to the West End, though a UK tour briefly visited the suburbs. So this London fringe debut is particularly welcome, to give us a chance to work out why.

Patricia Resnick, who co-wrote the film, provides the book and Dolly Parton, who played Judy in the film, adds music and lyrics. Set in 1975, it tells the story of the ladies in the office of Consolidated Industries, who’s CEO Franklin Hart is an obnoxious, corrupt, sexist misogynist. Life is hell under him, and after an accidental poisoning comes an intentional abduction whilst they gather enough evidence to get him his comeuppance and reform the workplace with family friendly policies at the same time.

I’m not sure why it didn’t do better on Broadway; it seems to me to be perfect musical comedy fare for a New York audience, though perhaps too American for the West End. Perhaps it was the feminist message?! There are some good country sounding songs and some funny lyrics. The book may be a bit lightweight, but it does the job. In this production, the design is functional, but a bit dull, and the choreography is a touch over-emphatic, trying a bit too hard, though I did like the country line-dancing references.

Though the performers were amplified, I missed some of the lyrics and dialogue because of the balance with the overloud band and the positioning of performers in the space. The three leads are all very good – Pippa Winslow as Violet, Amanda Coutts as Judy and Louise Olley as Doralee – and for once dodgy wigs seem appropriate. Leo Sene made a decent baddie as Hart, though he shouted when he should have sang. It’s a fine energetic and enthusiastic supporting cast.

Not a landmark musical, but good fun and Joseph Hodges’ production is well worth catching, while you can.

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