Award-winning amateur theatre company Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society have made a welcome return to the Theatre Royal Bath with Dolly Parton’s smash-hit feelgood musical 9-5.

Featuring a large cast of local talent, 9-5 The Musical is based on the iconic 1980 film of the same name, and this feel-good stage production is a testament to teamwork, empowerment, and taking charge in the face of adversity.

With a rip-roaring score by the Queen of Country, Dolly Parton, 9 to 5 tells the story of three workmates pushed to boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss.

Concocting a plan to kidnap and turn the tables on their despicable supervisor, the ladies manage to reform their office – until events unravel when the company’s chief executive officer pays an unexpected visit.

BODS return to the Theatre Royal Bath with a cast of 35 local performers, aged from 16 to 71 years, who hail from Bath, Bristol, Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire.

While they bring to the stage the infectious energy of Dolly Parton's music and lyrics, and Patricia Resnick’s book, the sheer number of performers occasionally causes problems for the director and choreographer.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: 9 to 5 The Musical performed by Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society. Photo: Stewart McPherson9 to 5 The Musical performed by Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society. Photo: Stewart McPherson (Image: Stewart McPherson)

Driven forward by Dolly Parton's toe-tapping score, the musical delivers a blend of humour, heart, and harmonies that captivate audiences from start to finish.

Led by stand-out performances from Sabrina Messer (Violet), Hannah Graham (Doralee), and Kate Lodite (Judy) respectively, the cast shines in their portrayal of characters navigating the highs and lows of office politics.

The principal cast is completed by George Miles – who works by day in the Theatre Royal Box Office – as Joe, Leo Horler as Dwayne, Finley Hancorn as Josh and Ahad Khan as Dick.

Particularly memorable is the tender duet ‘Let Love Grow’, beautifully rendered by Messer and Miles, adding depth to the production's musical landscape.

While BODS' reputation precedes them, some technical hiccups and occasional lacklustre moments detract from the overall polish of the performance.

Instances of costumes in disarray and sound inconsistencies, notably affecting Leo Horler's portrayal of Dwayne, briefly disrupt the audience enjoyment.

The director's interpretation also veers into overly-explicit territory, with scenes of gratuitous sexualization that detract from the narrative's empowerment themes.

Playing the notorious, chauvinist boss, Franklin Hart Jnr, and his ever-attentive assistant, Roz, are real-life married couple, Pip and Jane Knowles.

But Roz's cringe-inducing desk antics undermine an otherwise stellar performance by Jane Knowles, overshadowing her talent with unnecessary shock value, while Pip’s behaviour as Franklin Hart Jnr would definitely get him sacked for gross misconduct in today’s office world.

BODS' inclusive approach to casting, while commendable, occasionally leads to crowded and chaotic stage dynamics, detracting from the production's cohesion.

Overall, though, director Tristan Carter navigates these challenges admirably, eliciting moments of genuine laughter and magic from a packed audience.

Contributions from musical director James Finbow and choreographer Lizzie Andrew elevate the production with their expertise, enriching the musical's vibrant tapestry.

In conclusion, Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society's rendition of 9 to 5 The Musical is a spirited celebration of resilience and camaraderie, buoyed by stellar performances from the main roles and infectious musicality.

While occasional technical glitches and tonal missteps detract from the production's polish, the cast's undeniable talent and the infectious charm of Dolly Parton's score ensure an enjoyable theatrical experience for audience members of all ages.

9 to 5 The Musical appears at the Theatre Royal Bath to Saturday, March 2. To book tickets call the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or visit