REVIEW: The Great Gatsby at New Theatre Royal, Guildhall Walk

The Great Gatsby reopened New Theatre Royal in Guildhall Walk. Picture: Mark Holliday
The Great Gatsby reopened New Theatre Royal in Guildhall Walk. Picture: Mark Holliday

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... for a murder mystery dinner at Groundlings Theatre

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For New Theatre Royal’s opening show, The Great Gatsby was a statement of what the ‘new’ theatre wants to be - a fusion of the contemporary and traditional.

Blackeyed Theatre used a lot of creative licensing in their adaptation, with varying degrees of effectiveness.

Blackeyed Theatre used a lot of creative licensing in their adaptation, with varying degrees of effectiveness.

Music and songs from the period were performed live on instruments by the capable cast, which helped to set the scene of the Jazz Age. Their usage at times hovered uncertainly between background music and a full-blown musical, particularly when a dying Gatsby’s vision of Daisy danced with him to Irving Berlin’s What’ll I Do as he stood in a pool of his own blood. This, and the representation of the billboard of Dr T. J. Eckleburg (which is key to the story) as a pair of projected flaming eyes, was heavy-handed. It took away the subtlety and nuance of the original text that made it a classic.

However, the seven-strong cast did well to capture the atmosphere of Gatsby’s gargantuan parties by themselves, and the costume changes matched the luxurious lifestyles of the main characters. Until October 17.