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Review: The Great Gatsby

Don your feather boa, grab your martini and let the Guild of Misrule’s immersive adaption of Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby transport you into a world of jazz and debauchery.

The Guild of Misrule’s interpretation of a well-loved American classic plunges its audience into an interactive performance, where you can dance and even converse with the characters making you a player in the forward trajectory of the plot. Michael Lambourne as narrator Nick Carraway charmingly ropes you into the world of Gatsby before dropping a curtain to reveal the stage: the dance floor of a 20s jive bar where the majority of the production is set. Throughout, portions of the audience are taken to different rooms where characters develop and relationships unravel before your very eyes.

It is a completely interactive performance, thus the plot and character interactions are inescapable. You truly feel a part of the journey and develop realistic relationships with each character – we ended up talking about divorce with an inconsolable Myrtle in the venue’s Ladies’ toilets, wiped away Daisy’s tears prior to their trip to New York and learnt how to Charleston with Tom Buchanan, played by the wonderful (and much more likeable than the novel Tom) Thomas Mallar. If you, like many others, are a lover of Fitzgerald’s tale of lost love and greedy playboys then this is the experience for you.

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Two Megans: one a fan of the novel and film adaptions, and the other a newcomer to the tale.

NEWCOMER REACTION:
I very much enjoyed the aesthetic of the different spaces that acted as the stage. The costumes were wonderful and there was an exciting ambiance. Yet at times the plot was hard to follow as I didn’t know the story well; I had to ask for explanations once or twice. Also if you missed the chance to be swept off to another room’s stage, certain plot developments would be lost from the experience and understanding of the story. Overall for me, the escapism to another time and the chance to dress up was a very enjoyable way to experience a performance, however arguably it is a performance for those who are more familiar with The Great Gatsby.

 

Ollie Tilney as J Gatsby and Amie Burns Walker as Daisy Buchanan - York Theatre Royal
Ollie Tilney as J Gatsby and Amie Burns Walker as Daisy Buchanan – York Theatre Royal

HARDCORE FAN:

As a fan of the story, I thoroughly enjoyed being whisked away into the world of The Great Gatsby! Admittedly, at times the storyline was difficult to follow, and it was handy knowing the plot, as often you are taken into rooms with characters and experiences that aren’t necessarily linear, or even in the novel. However, these variations didn’t subtract from the brilliance of the evening, small additions such as a yellow-car key ring on Gatsby’s car keys and the embedding of well known Gatsby quotes meant that the evening lived up to the fan’s expectations – without being a direct copy of the novel. Most importantly, it’s crucial to go with an open mind and a willingness to participate and perform – don’t shy away and you too can experience the thrill of a Gatsby party.

 

Thomas Mallar as Tom Buchanan - York Theatre Royal
Thomas Mallar as Tom Buchanan – York Theatre Royal

The Great Gatsby is being performed at 41 Monkgate until 7th January. Tickets available here;

https://www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/event/the_great_gatsby.php#.WGt6U7KLTIV

 

Words by Meg Bowen and Megan Taaffe

 

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