Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Nine is a brave attempt at tackling a well known west-end giant, especially as the recent Hollywood production will automatically invite people to compare this to the dizzy heights of film production. Certain members of the cast have the potential to be on Broadway and the direction is flawless, especially taking into account the number of cast on such a small stage. However, the piece is scruffy, a little under-rehearsed and is rife with technical difficulties. It is still and enjoyable show, however.
Nine centers around the life and trials of Guido Contini a critically acclaimed film director. Having promised his producer a five-star script without the goods, he has very little time to compile something brilliant. With the media surrounding him and the clock ticking, the piece follows the personal and professional crisis of a man once known as a genius.
Members of the cast to note for their strong performances and incredible voices are Rosie Abraham, Guido’s wife and Matthew Sandy, the producer. Of the cast they were two that managed to hold the audience and project their voices effectively. Sandy is also a wonderful comic actor. Both could easily have careers on the professional stage and are young talent to watch. Also worth praise are Hannah Dale and Rosemary Boyle, Guido’s Mother and a renowned, beautiful actress, respectively. Both have wonderful voices and truly become their characters on stage.
Lead David Burnett, or Guido, is undeniably a great actor and rises to the challenge of portraying the complex film director but, in parts, his voice falters. A bit more projection a bit more fire is needed to make the performance complete.
On the whole, the direction and the performances are quite professional but what really lets them down their tech. If it were slicker, the audience would feel as thought they were watching a west-end show, but unfortunately the sticking curtain, the faltering spotlights and the buzzing microphones make it feel distinctly school-production. Also, the orchestra only started playing throughout the scene changes about half way through, so the audience was left in silence to watch a struggling cast cart around chairs, tables etc. It is a real shame, as the piece has a lot of potential and so do certain members of the cast and I actually really enjoyed the show. However, due to it’s clumsiness I can only give it three stars. With polishing, this will be great.