The Great Gatsby*** (Riverside Studios, 7 June 2013)

Posted: June 7, 2013 in Theatre

After a dramatised reading of the full novel last Summer and the recent Baz Luhrman film, maybe we have had enough of Gatsby, but this musical version was around on the fringe circuit before both and is still worth a look. In different ways, both the other versions set out to expand on the original, but here we see it distilled – very small stage, streamlined narrative, etc. Inevitably with such a multi-layered novel, much is left out, perhaps too much, but most surprisingly, the show ditches Nick Carraway’s narration. The biggest advantage that this version has over the film is that Jay Z has no involvement whatsoever, which means that the music is rather pleasant and actually evocative of the 1920s. Sid Phoenix as Nick is the highlight of the evening; Michael Lindall makes a striking Gatsby but Matilda Sturridge’s Daisy is a little too insipid.  The show sags towards the end, but so does the book and every other adaptation of it. All in all, a decent effort.

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