9 to 5 The Musical Review

Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cambridge – until Saturday 20th January 2024

Reviewed by Steph Lott


A Joyous Ode to Empowerment: 9 to 5 The Musical at the Cambridge Arts Theatre.

The Cambridge Operatic Society’s recent production of 9 to 5: The Musical, based on the book by Patricia Resnick, with songs and lyrics by Dolly Parton, is a delightful and empowering theatrical experience at the Cambridge Arts Theatre.

The audience are transported into the vibrant world of the late ’70s, a time when office dynamics were shifting, and women were beginning to demand their rightful place in the corporate landscape. The show cleverly balances humour, heart, and a powerful message of female empowerment, capturing the essence of the original 1980 film that inspired it.

One of the standout elements of the production was the stellar casting by the Cambridge Operatic Society. The three leading ladies, Violet (played by Emma Vieceli), Judy (played by Ellie Baldwin), and Doralee (played by Vikki Jones), delivered performances that were both hilarious and heart-warming. Their chemistry was palpable, creating a dynamic trio that effortlessly carried the show from start to finish.

It was interesting to witness the audience’s reaction to Rodger Lloyd’s portrayal of the dastardly Franklin, which was creepily superb with excellent comic timing. However, instead of applause, I almost felt he was going to get booed, such was the level of revulsion he stirred up!

The ensemble cast, composed of the talented members of the Cambridge Operatic Society, showcased impressive vocal prowess and energetic dance numbers that brought the infectious spirit of Dolly Parton’s music to life. The choreography, executed with precision and flair, added a visual feast to the already engaging narrative.

Dolly Parton’s music is, without a doubt, the soul of the production. The score, was flawlessly performed by the live orchestra, enhancing the overall theatrical experience. The titular song, “9 to 5,” had the audience tapping their feet and humming along, a testament to the timeless appeal of Parton’s compositions.

While 9 to 5 The Musical provides ample opportunities for laughter and entertainment, it doesn’t shy away from addressing serious issues such as workplace inequality and sexism. The script’s witty dialogue, coupled with the charismatic delivery of the cast, struck a perfect balance between humour and social commentary.

In conclusion, the Cambridge Operatic Society’s rendition of 9 to 5 The Musical at the Cambridge Arts Theatre was a resounding success. The stellar performances, vibrant production design, and the timeless appeal of Dolly Parton’s music combined to create a theatrical experience that was both uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable. The production not only pays homage to the source material but also adds a contemporary flair, making it a must-see for audiences of all ages. The audience gave the Cambridge Operatic Society a very warm welcome at Cambridge Arts and tonight’s performance had many members of the audience on their feet giving them a very well-deserved standing ovation.