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The Great Gatsby at Gatsby’s Mansion Immersive LDN

The Great Gatsby - Credit by Mark Senior.
The Great Gatsby – Credit by Mark Senior.

A night at Gatsby’s mansion with all the glitz, glamour and scandal you might expect, but perhaps not quite as much of the social commentary as the original novella is laced with.

The Great Gatsby is, as we all know, an era-defining text which 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 soon enough learn the rotten subtext as the misery of their lives is unearthed. Put plainly, Gatsby is not a happy tale, the characters are miserable, people die and romance is destroyed. The Gatsby Immersive had enormous potential to do this, but unfortunately, it does not. The play kicks off: we meet some familiar faces and there is a terrific Charleston number. I waited for the unsettling, uncanny mood to creep in and it never did, scandal remained frivolous and Gatsby remained ridiculous until all the plot of the play slammed in at the end of the play. This lets the show down because a show which appears to be a glamourous party and turns out to be an unrelenting tragedy would have made for an excellent subversion and remained true to the text.

My slight disappointment with the show should not cast a poor light on the performers and designers who bring the show to life. Holly Beasley-Garrigan (choreographer) gifts the audience with two stellar dance numbers, while Casey Jay Andrews (Designer)’s attention to detail creates the iconic images, but not without character in itself. Rarely do I get to mention stage managers in a review, however, I must acknowledge the slickness with which the night ran, so Emily Lawes and Hope Marshall (Stage Managers) both deserve huge credit.

Lucinda Turner is wondrous as Daisy and while appearing dreamy, packs in the punches when the story requires, while Aminita Francis (Myrtle Wilson) holds the audience excellently, and Oliver Towse gives a classic Gatsby performance.

A Gatsby themed night at a bar is a fantastic concept, and a Gatsby immersive project has enormous scope, however, this show does not know where it lies between those two. Usually, immersive theatre revolves around and depends upon audience autonomy and influence in the happenings of the play. This is made very difficult when dealing with such widely known material. I don’t know if immersive is the right word to use in the end, but I can’t think of a better one.

All that slightly pious reflection said, I had a good time and the rest of the audience appeared to enjoy it too; everyone dressed up, the design was exceptional, and a whimsical night was had all around. We are all getting back into theatre slowly but this unusual, imperfect performance is certainly an extravagant way to go about that.

3 Star Review

Review by Tom Carter

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 an 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 Guild of Misrule’s THE GREAT GATSBY 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.

VENUE SOCIAL @ldn_immersive
SHOW SOCIAL @immersivegatsby
www.immersivegatsby.com

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