The Great Gatsby at Gatsby Mansion Immersive LDN
A Night at the Gatsby Mansion with all the glitz, glamor, and scandal you might expect, but maybe not as much social commentary as the original short story.
Gatsby the magnificent is, as we all know, a text that defines an era that both dismantles notions of “the American dream” and tears apart the so-called high life we think we want. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing masterfully creates a world we marvel at, but learns the rotten subtext early enough as the misery of their lives is uncovered. Clear, Gatsby is not a happy story, the characters are miserable, people die and the romance is destroyed. The immersive Gatsby had tremendous potential to do so, but unfortunately it doesn’t. The play kicks off: we meet some familiar faces and there’s a great Charleston act. I waited for the unsettling and disturbing mood to set in and it never was, the scandal remained frivolous and Gatsby remained ridiculous until the whole plot of the play collapsed at the end of the play. That drops the show because a show that appears to be a glamorous party and turns out to be a relentless tragedy would have been excellent subversion and stay true to the text.
My slight disappointment with the show shouldn’t cast a bad light on the performers and designers who bring the show to life. Holly Beasley-Garrigan (choreographer) offers the audience two stellar dance numbers, while the attention to detail by Casey Jay Andrews (Designer) creates the iconic images, but not without character in and of itself. I rarely get the chance to mention stage managers in a review, however, I have to admit the finesse with which the evening was played out, so Emily Lawes and Hope Marshall (Stage Managers) both deserve huge credit.
Lucinda Turner is wonderful as Daisy and, while seeming dreamy, throws punches when the story calls for it, while Aminita Francis (Myrtle Wilson) holds the audience perfectly and Oliver Towse gives a classic performance of Gatsby.
A Gatsby themed party in a bar is a fantastic concept, and a Gatsby immersive project has huge reach, however, this show doesn’t know where it falls between those two. Usually, immersive theater revolves around and depends on the autonomy and influence of the audience in the events of the play. This is made very difficult when dealing with such a widely known material. I’m not sure if immersive is the right word at the end, but I can’t think of a better one.
Everything that this slightly pious reflection said, I had a good time and the rest of the audience seemed to appreciate it too; everyone got dressed, the design was outstanding and a whimsical night took place all around. We’re all slowly coming back to the theater, but this unusual and flawed performance is certainly an extravagant way to go about it.
Tom Carter live review
Amie Burns Walker and Oliver Tilney are associate directors. Choreography is by Holly Beasley-Garrigan, with MJ Lee as assistant choreographer, design by Casey Jay Andrews, costume design by Heledd Rees, sound design by Phil Grainger, and lighting design by Rachel Sampley. The original score was composed and produced by Glen Brown and Tendai Humphrey Sitima, with arrangement and additional composition by David Sims. The original production was created by Holly Beasley-Garrigan, Amie Burns Walker, Hannah Davies, Phil Grainger, Michael Lambourne, Thomas Maller and Oliver Tilney.
This production of THE GREAT GATSBY by The Guild of Misrule is produced by Immersive Everywhere, with co-producers Gavin Kalin Productions and Glynis Henderson Productions, with Theatr Clwyd and We Culture Connects as associate producers.
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