Based on the film 8½ by Federico Fellini, Nine: The Musical tells the story of Guido – a famous movie director – suffering from writer’s block on the eve of his next project. As he attempts to wrestle any semblance of a good idea from his mind, he’s haunted by all the woman in his life – both from memory and right in front of him.
The shows plays out on a lovely geometric set – squares on the ground, mostly straight lines with some curves. It provides a deceptively stable backdrop for Anthony Scundi as Guido to play out his character’s increasingly manic desperation.
It’s a striking image when Guido is surrounded by the cast. Whether in a state of forgiveness or rage, Alana Tranter was terrific as Guido’s wife, Luisa. Rachel Bronca was delightfully devilish as his lover, Carla, before dropping the larks for a compelling true moment of resignation and regret. Guido’s star, Claudia, was played by Courtney Glass with an amusing mix of being flattered or exasperated.
Bronte Florian, as one of Guido’s ghosts from the past, stalked and seduced over the stage in tremendous fashion. Standing opposite is Guido’s mother, played with heart by Ana Mitsikas. Stephanie John had a hilarious turn as cynical Pauline Kael-esque film critic, Stephenie, while Kershawn Theodore impressed as Young Guido.
It’s not an easy show to engage with when your lead is so entitled while harbouring little to no respect for women. Yet Anthony succeeded in presenting a charismatic lead who wasn’t operating out of a sense of malevolence. StageArt have added to their excellent pedigree with another fun and satisfying show.
Nine: The Musical
Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Performance: Saturday 13 October 2018 – 7.30pm
Season continued to 3 November 2018
For more information, visit: www.stageart.com.au for details.
Image: Anthony Scundi (centre) and the Cast of Nine: The Musical – photo by Belinda Strodder
Review: David Collins