Tuesday, November 29

The Great Gatsby – Immersive LDN

The Great Gatsby, London’s longest-running immersive show directed by Alexander Wright, is a stage adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic 1925 novel of the same name is back with a bang.

The show is set in Gatsby’s extravagant mansion, envisioned by Casey Jay Andrews, its lavish art-deco design and dim speakeasy lighting created the perfect setting to transport you back in time for an evening. Most of the action and the dancing happened in the main space whilst characters led crowds of audience members into smaller rooms for more intimate moments.

Each room was meticulously decorated, from Daisy’s dazzling dressing room with an enviable collection of pretty dresses to Gatsby’s ominous oak-panelled library, all the details were extraordinary and really added to the opulent ‘20s charm. Hearing muffled voices from separate rooms as different scenes happened simultaneously was an interesting move, at times some of the scenes felt chaotic but also in keeping with Fitzgerald’s colourful story and the scenes with smaller groups felt even more special.

Heledd Rees’ costume design also deserves a special mention, from Gatsby’s famous pink suit to the ensemble’s gorgeous flapper dresses, everyone truly looked the part. With dressing up encouraged, the audience certainly didn’t disappoint with the endless tuxedos, shimmering dresses, and headbands the majority were sporting which added to the glitzy atmosphere.

The entire cast delivered a stellar performance, with high-energy dancing and singing as well as the more dramatic moments of the novel acted out, each cast member truly brought Fitzgerald’s flapper world to life. One major issue that can arise with immersive theatre are boisterous audience members, yet the cast expertly handled any interruptions or distractions and were able to stay in character throughout.

A stand-out performer of the night was Lucinda Turner as Daisy Buchanan, who truly engaged with audience members, even remembering a few names as she struck up conversations, asked for advice and taught everyone the Charleston. Turner went above and beyond to make the audience feel like they were part of the show whilst playing the part of the glamorous yet frivolous young woman perfectly. Turner’s Daisy was balanced out nicely by Jessica Hern’s strong-willed and hilarious performance as Jordan Baker who brilliantly took the lead in many of the dancing sequences. The pair certainly worked well together especially in musical performances and got plenty of laughs from the audience.

The iconic role of Jay Gatsby is a difficult character to portray, yet Oliver Towse did a remarkable job of embodying the charming yet deeply flawed man, his chemistry with Turner during their more tender moments were a highlight of the show.

Hugh Stubbins tied the story together well with his brooding narration as Nick Carraway, Jermaine Domique played the insufferable Tom Buchanan admirably whilst Steve McCourt and Aminita Francis as George and Myrtle Wilson truly shined with their musical talents. 

Although this show may not be for avid fans hoping to see a direct adaptation of the novel, the dialogue that veers away and goes beyond the book especially in the smaller scenes, add another dimension to the classic tale that you would otherwise never get to enjoy.

Without the limitations that a novel can sometimes have in the reader connecting to characters, the immersive aspect of this re-imagining allows audience members to feel like they are part of the story as it unfolds, get to know the characters as if they’re like old friends and is what makes this production a truly enjoyable and unique experience.

The Great Gatsby is currently on at Immersive LDN until the 16th January 2022, and tickets can be purchased here: https://immersivegatsby.com/event/the-great-gatsby  

Reviewer: Gemma Prince

Reviewed: 24th September 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★