9 to 5: Eddie’s perfect role as worst boss ever
At the Savoy Theatre in London one night last month, every appearance by David Hasselhoff as the lecherous boss in Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 The Musical brought howls of delight from the audience.
At the same time, the Harvey Weinstein trial was playing out in New York City. It would culminate in the Hollywood producer being jailed for sex felonies.
So how come a musical about a sleazy boss who sexually harasses his female staff is funny? Hasn't society changed since 1980 when Parton wrote the film that became the musical?
Eddie Perfect has thought about this issue a lot since being cast as the repellent Franklin Hart Jr. in the production of 9 to 5 that opens at Sydney Lyric Theatre next month.
The writer and comedian admits "it's a tricky line to walk". Ultimately, though, he believes in the power of laughter as a force for change.
"I've never been afraid to shine a light on dark places, and I think comedy is one of the best weapons for dismantling power structures," Perfect told the Sunday Telegraph.
He said Weinstein's downfall was proof that "narcissists and power trippers and sexists and misogynists" can no longer expect to get away with it.
"My gut says that an audience will now be even more free to laugh at (the show), because they're watching an idiot trying to flex inside a world and a social power structure that doesn't exist any more," Perfect said.
"It's really watching a dinosaur staring down an asteroid."
Perfect's new role will see him return from New York where he's been writing songs for musicals for two years. The Broadway musical, Beetlejuice, features Perfect's work.
In 9 to 5 The Musical, Perfect will join Erin Clare as Doralee (the Parton role in the film), Marina Prior as Violet, Samantha Dodemaide as Judy and Caroline O'Connor as Roz.
He's excited about being back on stage after a long break.
"This (role) came along and it just felt right," he said.
9 to 5 The Musical opens at the Sydney Lyric Theatre on April 19. 9to5themusical.com.au