This sumptuous production at Riverside Studios is a delight, says Penny Flood
The Great Gatsby Musical at Riverside Studios is an absolute delight. The costumes are gorgeous, the set is sumptuous, the music, singing and dancing are fabulous and the actors throw themselves into it with an infectious enthusiasm.
Many of them play multiple roles and, when they’re not on stage, some of them pick up an instrument and join the orchestra, which adds even more zip to an already exciting production.
The orchestra is part of the set and is centred around a white grand piano played almost non-stop by Greg Arrowsmith who is also the musical director.
For those who haven’t read the book or seen the movie, here’s a synopsis: Gatsby (Michael Lindall) falls in love with Daisy (Matilda Sturridge)) but they are separated after the first world war. She’s rich and he’s poor.
They meet again five years later by which time he’s as rich as she is but she’s married to Tom (Ian Knauer). He’s having an affair with Myrtle (Naomi Bullock), the wife of the garage owner (Nicholas Waters). Naomi also plays mean clarinet when she’s not strutting her stuff centre stage.
The story has been cut to the bare bones but none of the spirit of the book has been lost. These decadent, rich, idle young people – the generation who inspired Elliott’s poem The Wasteland - are drinking and dancing their way through life and to hell with the consequences.
And that’s what makes it’s so much fun. They don’t care and they carry us along with them.
It’s the jazz age, the glamorous roaring twenties with lots of feathers and frills. For the rich people with their cars, and their houses and their swimming pools, everything is over the top. But the good times are hiding
unbearable sadness and a mystery which keeps it fascinating.
The script is sharp and witty, there are 19 songs and it all moves along at a cracking pace. Full marks to director Linnie Reedman, composer Joe Evans, designer Christopher Hone and everybody involved for bringing it all together and coming up with an excellent way to spend two hours.
It’s only on until the June 8 and you’ll kick yourself if you miss it.
Other members of the cast are:
Book tickets online or call 020 8237 111.
May 28, 2013