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It's worth clocking in for Dolly' s working week

DOLLY Parton is on the clock. Actually, she's sort of in the clock. Because it isn't enough to have her name and her songs all over a flashy musical.

No, Dolly's gotta be the narrator, too. And here she is, broadcasting live (not really, though) from whatever office/studio/backstage dressing room they recorded her segment in. Said video is then projected on to -- yep, you've guessed it -- a giant clock.

It's a nice touch; a clever way to bookend each half of the suitably colourful 9 to 5: The Musical.


Which, by the way, is based on the 1980 hit movie -- the one that helped launch Parton's film career. Only, this time around, it comes with a brand new cast and a whole lot more Dolly. And it's still all about those three feisty, female office workers who plan to get even with their crooked boss. The women refer to him as a "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" ... and that just about sums him up. Indeed, Franklyn Hart Jr runs Consolidated Industries in his own, erm, unique way. Sometimes, he even breaks into song, professing his love for the blonde secretary of his dreams (glam country girl Doralee -- guess who?).

Granted, 9 to 5 may look and even sound a little silly, but in Patricia Resnick's sparkling script we have a story that is every bit as funny as you'd expect. Again, the supposed star attraction is just a video clip. The real leading ladies and gentlemen are on the floor, prancing around a big blue stage full of office desks, typewriters and cups of coffee.

Ben Richards adds just the right amount of sleaze and vanity as the boss. Everyone will be talking about Bonnie Langford's over-the-top turn as Roz (she's mad about Hart), or maybe even Doralee's powerful vocal (Amy Lennox does good Dolly).

They might have loved Jackie Clune as the headstrong Violet but it's the hilarious Natalie Casey as the shy, twitchy and, occasionally, psychotic Judy, who steals the show. Decent songs, an excellent cast and a story that actually delivers -- nice work.

Running until Saturday.