Book – Nine
Author – Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston
Year – 1982 (Broadway Production)
Genre – Play
In a first for a book on this blog, this is something that I had to read. The theatre group that I perform with, DAODS, has a very talented Youth Group. They are performing this show, Nine at Heathfields Hall in Dartford from 15th to 19th March this year, and I am stage managing for them. Some of the talent on show is incredible, and with the amount of effort that they put in – especially whilst fitting in A Levels – deserves some excellent audiences. You can book tickets through David on 020 8300 8148, and find more details at the DAODS website.
Plug aside, I have dutifully read the script for the show. The story is based upon the early 60s film 8 1/2 (see what they did there?) and follows Guido Contini, an Italian movie director who has only a short time to come up with an entire new script for a film he is due to be shooting. However, his life is pretty much taken up by all of the women in his life – be it his wife Luisa, his mistress Carla, his producer La Fleur or shades from his past such as his mother.
The whole thing has a very metaphysical feel, and without telling you the ending, and spoiling the production that you are going to see in a couple of weeks, there is a wonderful self referencing twist to the plot. The characters build perfectly together, and the part of Guido is turned into one that any musical theatre actor would be salivating to play. There is such a scope for what can be done with the show, that you could go and see a dozen different productions and see a dozen different interpretations. I am so proud to be a part of this production, but would love an opportunity in the future to be in or direct the show – I thought that when I saw it in Edinburgh last summer, and think so even more having seen the guys rehearsing and having read the script.
If there is one very definite criticism, it is that – like most musicals – it is certainly not a book made to be read, but to be performed on stage. There are sections with alternate Italian wordings in, and the songs that work so perfectly on stage make the pacing very difficult. This is mainly why I have refrained from reviewing musical scripts here before, but with such a wonderful show, I wanted to get a little plug out – and hopefully not turn this into a theatre review instead of a book review (I think I failed, and made it mainly advert. Sorry! Oh well, see you there!)
9/10 (could it be anything else)