Thursday, July 08, 2010

"Nine" - July 2010

Before we get to our thoughts on this one, there are a few bits of 'housekeeping' I need to cover. This is the first amateur production we've seen for a while so I think it's worth restating our policy that applies to all amateur, community and youth theatre. We make no concessions or allowances and all performances will be considered in the same manner as professional ones - anything else would be patronising to those involved. Secondly, musicals aren't really my thing - with a few exceptions I tolerate them at best, so please keep that in mind. And lastly, in the interest of full disclosure, while we generally keep ourselves fairly isolated from the theatrical community in order to preserve our objectivity, on this occasion one of the cast is a friend of mine (in what passes for our 'day jobs').

Despite winning the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1982, both Waldorf and I were firmly of the view that this is a bad, bad musical - verging at times on 'Springtime for Hitler' bad. Of all the songs featured, only two - "My Husband Makes Movies" and "Unusual Way" linger in my memory a couple of hours after the show.

So it's very much to the credit of the cast that this was an enjoyable evening. Richard Magowan plays film director Guido Contini as he faces mounting crises in both his personal and professional lives, and makes the most of what are rather weak songs for the central role. He also succeeds in bringing a depth to the character's emotional moments while handling the comedic elements to good effect.

Jennie Wilkie as his wife Luisa receives some of the show's stronger numbers and gives an impressive performance both vocally and in bringing the character to life. There are also particularly strong performances from Chriss Mills as Claudia, Emma Craig as Carla and Kerry Burley as Sarraghina, while the whole cast provide excellent vocals for the ensemble numbers and Adam Stewart does well as the nine year old Guido.

Director Walter Paul has created a well drilled production that features a large cast with extensive choreography on a relatively small stage, but we do have to note that the prompt was required for a couple of lines. Musically and technically this was a very adept production - I've lost track of the number of musicals I've seen with significant problems with the sound levels, but here they were perfectly balanced.

There was certainly enough quality displayed here that I'd be interested to see what the cast and creative team could achieve with some better material to work with; however I do have to comment on the ticket price. £17 for a Wednesday night is pretty horrific in comparison to main stage, large scale professional shows at the Citizens or the Tron and without the factor of having friends/family in the cast it's difficult to envisage us paying similar prices in the future.

Nine, produced by Walter Paul Productions, runs at Gilmorehill G12 until Saturday 10th July
Image by Colin Wilkinson used with permission

1 Heckle

John Binnie said...

I loved seeing NINE up close at Gilmorehill, being so near to a large company of 20 musical performers. I really felt part of the music.
I saw FOLLIES there last year, and I so liked the experience of seeing a big musical at close quarters.
I presume the company is unsubsidised, hence the £17 ticket price.
NINE is an odd musical, but not a bad one. The composer is trying something different, - it is a chamber piece, all about mood. I find a lot of the melodies ravishing. Although NINE might be considered caviar, sometimes on a wet Saturday night in Glasgow, that's all that's needed.
John Binnie