Transmogrifying one of the finest American novels written a century ago into an immersive show is no mean feat. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby explores decadence, duplicity and desperation, and where better to do that than in a bar in the middle of London?
The bare bones of the plot and the deep themes in the book are presented here within a hullabaloo of a party complete with wild dancing, cocktails on tap and a sultry chanteuse or two. As narrator Nick Carraway, James Lawrence acts as our personal psychopomp through this dark tale which often forks into intimate areas away from the main ballroom.
Amid the japes and jollity, bouts of theatre break out in sudden and jaunty ways. Some scenes take place simultaneously in different spaces meaning that you could see this show twice and not have the same experience. There’s quality across the cast but Hannah Edwards’ bartender Myrtle Wilson stands out; whether doling out steamy sass in a backroom or angrily confronting her lover or her husband, there’s enough fire in those eyes to burn down the Empire State Building.
Dressing up is encouraged and appreciated by the cast as they wander amongst us. Director Alexander Wright keeps the pace taut enough to keep us engaged but loose enough for us to enjoy what is a party inexorably heading towards heartbreak and tragedy.
The Great Gatsby, IMMERSIVE | LDN, 56 Davies St, Mayfair, W1K 5JF, £20-£38 (special rates for students and groups of more than 10). Booking until 31 May 2020