Nina - a story about me and Nina Simone

NINA – A Story About Me and Nina Simone
Unity Theatre
Review by
Peter Grant

When you see a ‘House Full’ sign consistently on the box office window you know that you are in good company.

This is the World Premiere of Nina – A Story About Me and Nina Simone – an astonishing piece of theatre starring Olivia Bushell-Mingo in a 75-minute play that deserves a long life – locally, nationally and internationally. It is a UnityTheatre and Riksteatern (Sweden) production that left many of the wide aged group audience speechless.

A brand new, wonderfully executed visual work with an exquisite three-piece live band consisting of drums, piano and bass. They are a sheer delight backing expressive Josette on Nina’s iconic songs including the anthemic Feeling Good,dreamy I Loves You, Porgy, melancholic Little Girl Blue and and robust and feisty┬áRevolution during a stunning ‘ in concert’ sequence.

There is powerful, beautiful writing throughout and the singing from the soulful slow numbers to bluesy rockers is faultless.

The structural device sees and hears Josette reflect on her own life and that of the equally passionate Nina. Her body language and on-stage movements together with stark references and a brilliant back screen projection contribute to a performance where you are gripped from start to finish.

Josette is an acclaimed tour-de-force storyteller and this concept shows off her talents to the full. We hear of the 1960s Civil Rights movement, Nina’s own struggles and challenges and we her classically-trained musical legacy.

This is a┬áremarkable piece of acting on every front as Josette invites the audience to soak in activity Nina’s passion and her own through their shared hopes, dreams – highs and lows. An exploration of tough love.

There are the songs to relish, too, and what a catalogue of classics to celebrate. A broad range of styles from gospel and pop to Bach. Josette, who devised this work with director Dritero Kasapi, and their musical director Shapor Bastansiar deserve every standing ovation they are getting.

Unforgettable – World Class.

(5 / 5)

Unity box office: 051 709 4998
Until October 29

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