Theatre Review | Nine


Created by Maury Yeston

Director and Designer Alexander Andrews

Seymour Centre until September 14

Photography Blake Condon

Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP

Are you familiar with the musical, Nine? If I hadn’t seen a production of it in 1987 at the Theatre Royal, it wouldn’t have been on my radar. That stated, it won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 1982.

Guido Contini is an Italian film director, who, at the age of forty and after some less-than-successful films, is starting to question his own relevance. His compulsive womanising is threatening his marriage, and the actress who helped him to past successes refuses to work with him. Contini grasps at straws in an effort to find a concept for his next project.

Through the process Contini has flashbacks to his nine-year-old self and we discover why he is as he is.

Guido is not only the leading man, he’s the only man in the 18 person cast so by necessity he has to possess a strong singing voice and a powerful stage presence. In this regard, Andy Leonard more than fills the requirement. Leonard embodies the quirkiness, insecurities and background of his character and you’re always aware of the times when he’s on stage.

Also outstanding are Tayla Jarrett as Guido’s tolerant wife, Luisa, and Petronella van Tienen as film star Claudia Nardi. Both own powerful sets of pipes and have the ability to evoke the extreme emotions of their characters enough to move the audience.

When the entire talented cast sings together in the small theatre, the effect is almost overwhelming. This is a tightly directed, excellently executed production.

You’ll enjoy the ten musical items as they’re performed but it’s unlikely that you’ll be humming any of them as you leave the theatre.

The production company, Little Triangle, “aims to present under-performed theatrical productions that challenge audiences and performers alike at a low price point - in the hopes to expand, educate and diversify the music theatre audience base, especially amongst young people.”

With a cast of 18 and a 12 piece band in a theatre that has a maximum capacity of 200, the producers must be running close to the line, especially considering the low tickets prices. However, with its high production values and massive heart, Little Triangle very much deserves our support.

If you like musicals that diverge from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Rodgers and Hammerstein, Nine just might be the show for you.

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