Music & Lyrics by Maury Yeston
Directed by Alexander Andrews
Little Triangle theatre company
The Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre, Sydney to 14 September
Reviewed by Len Power 11 September 2019
The musical, ‘Nine’, is most likely known to people only from its disappointing movie version that starred Daniel Day Lewis a few years ago. This is unfortunate because, to see it staged well in a theatre is a totally different experience. The production by Little Triangle in Sydney demonstrated what an exciting and entertaining musical it is.
Based on Fellini’s 1963 movie, ‘8½’, the musical ‘Nine’ focusses on film director, Guido Contini, who undergoes a mid-life crisis involving the development of his new film and his complex romantic entanglements. Guido’s misogyny is sorely tested as the women in his life, who once placed him a pedestal as a genius, now reject his objectification of them. Reality and fantasy collide as Guido’s crisis deepens.
This production cleverly used the bare bones of the Seymour Centre’s Reginald Theatre to create a film studio setting for the action of the show. Using only chairs and a white cross marked in the centre of the stage, the director, Alexander Andrews, kept the show moving swiftly and clearly through the multitude of scenes with the focus strongly on each of the characters.
Seventeen women surround Guido, the man, and Little Guido, the boy, in this show. Everyone in the cast impressed with the depth of their characterisations and the quality of their singing and acting. Andy Leonard gave a terrific performance in the huge role of Guido. It was quite an achievement to play the misogyny so fearlessly and still make Guido a charismatic character we felt concern for.
Amongst the women there were standout performances by Tayla Jarrett as Guido’s long-suffering wife, Luisa, Petronella Van Tienen as the sensitive actress and Guido’s muse, Claudia, Sarah Murr as the lusty prostitute, Saraghina, Caitlin Rose as Guido’s very sexy mistress, Carla, Tisha Kelemen as Guido’s mother, Michele Lansdown as his testy film producer, La Fleur, and Katelin Koprivec as the critical Stephanie. Oscar Langmar also gave a fine performance as Little Guido.
The onstage orchestra conducted by Antonio Fernandez played the lush score very well. Sound balance between orchestra and performers was excellent. Madison Lee’s fine choreography was danced well by the cast.
Established in 2017, Little Triangle’s stated aim is “to present underperformed 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.” In the program it states that “the professional theatre-makers on this production are working unwaged’. This production was an excellent showcase for their work.
The high standard of this production makes Little Triangle a company to keep an eye on and support, especially if they continue to focus on quality musicals that are rarely performed.
Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on the Artsound FM 92.7 ‘In the Foyer’ program on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3.30pm.