A digital concert revival of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic Jazz Age tale brought to life, Gatsby – A Musical returns due to popular demand. Fitzgerald’s masterpiece is my favourite book, so I was excited to see the story adapted into a staged performance.
The production stars an incredible cast of West End performers, including Ross William Wild (Million Dollar Quartet) as the title character Gatsby, Jodie Steele (Six) as Daisy Buchanan, Blake Patrick Anderson (Be More Chill) as Nick Carraway and four-time Olivier nominee Emma Williams (Zorro) as Myrtle Williams.
The plot mostly follows Steele as Daisy, seven years after the events of the book, as she revisits her memories with the mystical Gatsby by going to his mansion. The show jumps between different time periods, both in and outside the book, which was an interesting approach to the narrative. I enjoyed seeing the interpretation of what could have happened after the story especially the focus on Daisy, who we only see through Nick’s perspective in the book.
Directed by Linnie Reedman, the show was filmed in Cadogan Hall as a socially distanced semi-staged concert and although there was not much of a set the grand backdrop of the hall worked well for the show. The production begins with soft jazz music, a soothing opening that sets the tone of the performance, with Gatsby standing above Nick and Daisy as they look back on their history.
The music was brilliant, written by Joe Evans; it was the perfect mix of upbeat songs, emotional duets, and tragic solos. The band, which was orchestrated by Henry Brennan, seamlessly flowed between the dialogues, and tied together the concert nicely.
My favourite performance was undoubtedly Steele’s portrayal of Daisy, her inner turmoil and regret of the events of the story certainly took the character beyond Fitzgerald’s representation of her. Steele gives Daisy a complexity that I thoroughly enjoyed watching. Steele’s duets with Wild as Gatsby were especially Wild and Steele certainly nailed the sense of longing and tragic love between the two characters.
Other standout performances include Lauren Chinery as Jordan Baker, Chinery had a beautiful and energetic tone to her voice and her chemistry with Anderson playing Nick Carraway was great. Their interactions and duets were some of my favourite moments from the show. Anderson played Nick’s transformation from young optimist to tortured soul extremely well.
The supporting cast was equally as strong, in both their acting and voices. Oliver Mawdsley as Owl Eyes was very entertaining especially during the party scene and Robert Grose as Theodore Woolfe a new character introduced into the show, to who Daisy tells her story, was a calming and enjoyable presence throughout.
Overall, the production offered a fresh yet interesting take on Fitzgerald’s famous novel, shifting the focus from Nick and Gatsby to Daisy and her perspective of the story, which was something that I didn’t know I needed. I think that fans of the book and those who have never read it will equally enjoy this brilliant show that gives the story a new lease of life whilst honouring Fitzgerald’s beautiful writing. For those wanting to be transported into the decadent world of flapper dresses, mint juleps and jazz for an evening, then Gatsby is the show for you.
Gatsby – A Musical will be available to stream online from Thursday 11th March – Sunday 14th March 2021. Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.webgig.tv
Reviewer: Gemma Prince
Reviewed: 8th March 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★