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Local community theatre, Camarillo Skyway Playhouse, in the Ventura County has been charming patrons with their current production of Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston‘s NINE.
Directed by Ken Patton and Choreographed by Ken Patton and Eric R. Umali, the community production is a good team effort from the twelve member cast that works well with Yeston and Kopit’s sexy and beautiful ensemble piece.
For those not familiar with the music, Maury Yeston’s score is one of the most lush and beautiful of the last fifty years. In a retelling of Federico Fellini’s film, 8 1/2, the story revolves around 40 year old Italian film maker, Guido Contini (Andy Mattick), who is suffering a mid-life crisis having troubles in both his career and love life.
Guido’s past, present and future is told through mini vignettes. The show’s most famous number has to be the second act opener, Unusual Way. But all the women and leading man, Andy Mattick, get the opportunity to shine thanks to Yeston’s score and Ken Patton’s direction.
In a small community theatre, there are plenty of limitations but the greatest limits of them all have to do with sound — the lack of a live orchestra, the noisy stage that loudly echoed all the ladies’ stilettos and the few times when the music was dropped.
Thankfully there were five reasons to see the show — leading man, Andy Mattick, supporting lady, Sara Marie Calvey, and supporting actors, Autumn Ericson, Christine Adams and Reign Lewis.
Andy Mattick is a convincing Guido Contini who manages to carry the show along on his ample shoulders and his Act One finale, The Bells of St. Sebastian, is a definite highlight.
His supporting leading lady, Sara Marie Calvey, who plays the siren, Carla, is a perfect combination of vulnerable and sexy. Her second act Simple can definitely bring a tear to the eye.
Supporting actor, Autumn Ericson, is stunning as Saraghina, the prostitute from Guido’s chidlhood, and the eye is drawn to her at all times, even when she is singing as part of the ensemble. Similarly, ensemble member Reign Lewis plays Lina Darling, a statuesque and mysterious assistant, so well that her second act Every Girl in Venice, comes as a much awaited treat.
The surprising treat of the show comes in the form of Christine Adams, the buxom and comedic Mama Maddalena who’s second act turn as an actress in Guido’s Grand Canal has the audience in stitches.
Supporting the talented cast is the Camarillo Skyway Playhouse production team. Raquel Karoly‘s costumes are brilliantly monochromatic — if only they were more uniform in length. Emilee Grochowski‘s floor length gown, for instance, is distracting in contrast to the knee-length dresses worn by the majority of the cast. Dean Johnson‘s set design is genius with each lady of the cast having her own unique seat on stage that compliments her character. Lastly, the video designs by Ryan Kelley play a great role in the show’s development of Guido’s character. Half way through their production of NINE, now is the time to grab your tickets to visit Camarillo Skyway Playhouse as the actors and crew will be more confident and familiar with their material. It truly is a very talented cast and if you have the interest and time, I encourage a visit to the Camarillo Skyway Playhouse to support these talented actors. And without a doubt the best performances come during the second act so be patient if the first act isn’t your cup of tea.
Dates: Now through 8 November 2015 (no performance on 31 October)
Times: 2pm on Sundays; 8pm on Fridays – Saturdays (Special 8pm performance on Thursday, 10/29)
Tickets: Box Office (805-388-5716) or Online
Seating Recommendations: Open admission; because of the sound difficulties (especially when Alexandra Lastort sings) I would suggest a seat in the first half of the auditorium, closest to the stage.
Age Appropriate: PG-13 (This is NOT a show for children because of adult themes)
Disclaimer: My ticket was generously comped by CSP but all opinions are my own.