Whitireia Performance Centre, 25-27 Vivian Street, Wellington

26/11/2011 - 03/12/2011

Production Details

Whitireia New Zealand Presents NINE

Graduating students from Whitireia New Zealand’s Musical Theatre (Diploma in Performing Arts: Singing), and Commercial Dance (Diploma in Performing Arts: Dance) courses form the cast and dance company for this production of NINE. 


NINE is a musical with a book by Arthur Kopit, music and lyrics by Maury Yeston.

The story is based on Federico Fellini’s semi-autobiographical film 8½.

Set in Italy in the early 1960’s NINE centres around an Italian film director named Guido Contini who is having major problems getting his next film project off the ground. Matters aren’t helped much by the fact that he is a constant womanizer who in his own words has a body nearing forty with a mind that is nearing ten.  Central to this predicament are a trio of women – his long suffering wife Luisa, mistress Carla, and former lover and muse, the film actress Claudia.

The original Broadway production opened in 1982 and ran for 729 performances, starring Raul Julia. The musical won five Tony Awards, including best musical, and has enjoyed a number of revivals.

In 2009, a film version directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha) opened.  The film starred Daniel Day Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz, Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren and Marion Cotillard.

at Whitirea Theatre, 25 Vivian Street, Wellington
Saturday 26th November – Friday 2nd December:  7pm
Saturday 3rd December:  2pm & 7pm

$20 Adult, $14 Student/Senior, $96 Group for 6 Adults, $72 Group of 6 students
$5 for official Programme.

Book online – credit card required
Phone/email bookings incur a $4.95 booking fee
(04) 238 6225 

PRINCIPLE CAST (second year Musical Theatre Students)
Manaia Glassey-Ohlson as Guido  &  Nick Purdie as Guido (sharing role)
Emma Walker as Luisa Contini
Natasha McAllister as Liliane La Fleur
Bridget Connor as Carla Albanese
Brittany Wallis  as Stephanie Necrophorus / Lady of the Spa
Sophie Scott – Maunder as Sarraghina
Caitlin Barrie as Guido’s Mother
Bethany Gould as Claudia

DANCERS(second year Commercial Dance students)
Abbie Spencer as Giulietta
Miyako Miyazaki as Maria
Alisha Gabrielsen as Renata
Anita Corlett as Mama Maddelena
Tina Mellish as Annabella
Katrina Scoble as Lina
Mekah Jane Dunn as Diana
Zoe Kee-Sue as Gretchen von Krupf
Joanne Boocock as Olga von Hesse
Jessica Tildesley as Heidi von Sturm
Little Guido and Friends: Kieren, Henry, Nicholas, William

BACKING VOCALS:  Year One Musical Theatre Students: Allison, Camilla, Cindy, Emily L, Emily P, Georgina, Kasey and Kate.  

DIRECTOR: Stephen Robertson
MUSICAL DIRECTOR:  Michael Nicholas Williams
CHOREOGRAPHY: Leigh Evans and Anne Anderson
PIANIST: Paul Carnegie-Jones
TECHNICAL ASSISTANTS: Paul Williams, Jonathan Morgan, Nick (Audio Analysis)

Effervescence and energy lift 8½ to Nine

Review by Greer Robertson 28th Nov 2011

Nine is a musical theatre piece first taken from a book, which then became a film, which then went on to be a five time Tony Award-winning Broadway production. Like a game of charades opening, it spans the lot.

The story is based on Federici Fellini semi-autobiographical film 8½.

Set in Italy in the early 1960s, Nine centres around an Italian film director Guido Contini who is having problems in launching his ideas for his next film project. As a habitual womaniser he has great difficulty as life and love gets in the way.

This is a cleverly chosen piece. How else does a training institution showcase the skills of 17 graduating women and two men?  

With clean, clear direction, a sophisticated uncluttered set and sympathetic choreography, Nine allows the students to display their true understanding of their learned craft of disciplined theatre. 

From the onset, the stylish black and white set is visually calming with performers in black individual costumes portraying well poised perfect characters. These characters decorate the stage with chic panache, surging to the fore when required to sing or act in chorus fashion or solos. Whether it is a little black dress, a black leather jacket with matching hot pants and lacy tights, the flavour of the era is well covered. 

Unfortunately the resounding noise of heeled boots and street shoes on a hollow painted floor in the new purpose built theatre, disrupted the flow of movement, disturbing and deafening the eloquence of the spoken or sung word.

Paul Carnegie-Jones as the consummate, faultless pianist must equally have had difficulty in hearing the soloists whilst performing from his upstage onstage back position with this added foot noise in front of him? The use of such a large space needs further thought for acoustic, performing and viewing harmony. Teething problems are to be expected as the building settles into the first year of its existence, however. 

On opening night, Manaia Glassey-Ohlson plays Guido Contini. With his Italian mannerisms and flirty charm he woos his many women. At times his delivery is of his own tender age and not one on the cusp of a 40th birthday, but this I’m sure will develop with the season. He holds the work together with charisma and has a pleasing Italian accent when acting. In the musically more difficult solos however the accent slips at times. 

But one who has her character and French accent carefully honed as Liliane La Fleur, is Natasha McAllister. Visually and vocally powerful, she commands the stage with every note and step. A talent and force to be reckoned with. 

Also worthy of a mention is Bridget Connor as the often skimpily-clad temptress Carla Albanese, Contini’s mistress. As his wife, Emma Walker is suitably cast as the long suffering dedicated wife. And four angelic young boys sing softy and sweetly. 

The first act moves along nicely and well placed chorus and dancing numbers create a lively effervescent mood with the added attraction of feathered fans, tambourines and tarantellas. 

But in the second act, his wife leaves him and the musical draws to a close. But, wait there is more. The Commercial Dance Course graduates display a fervent energetic love of dance to round off the evening.

Applause to all. A fun night out.  


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