THE GREAT GATSBY to 10 October and on tour.
by F Scott Fitzgerald
adapted by Stephen Sharkey.
Croom Hill, London SE10 8ES
To 10 October. Tour dates at end of cast list.
Wed-Sat 7.30pm. Mat Sat 2.3opm.
Runs 2hr 5 mins One interval.
TICKETS: 020 8858 7755.
Review: William Russell 6 October.
Polished performances by a versatile cast.
There have been countless attempts to dramatise F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel about the jazz age both for the stage and the cinema, and it has even been turned into a musical. None have ever quite managed to capture just what makes the novel great and this clever adaptation by Stephen Sharkey is no exception.
At times during act one it sounds a bit like a play reading rather than a play, although it gets better as it goes along and the production does have a lot going for it. There is a handsome all white set, splendid clothes, and the excellent cast, as is the way these days, can play different instruments so the action has been set off by some beautifully chosen songs of the period. As Nick Carraway, the narrator of the tale about the mysterious rich man who throws amazing parties in his Long Island mansion attended by the New York fast set, invited guests or gatecrashers.
Adam Jowett holds things together with great skill. It is a lovely performance of an innocent abroad in a world of fast women, fast cars, the Mob, bootleg hooch, unasked for friends and betrayal. Max Roll is suitably enigmatic as Gatsby, whose past is a mystery – he is, actually, a retired bootlegger – and Celia Cruwys-Finnigan shimmers delightfully as Daisy Buchanan, the spoilt rich girl he once loved and now wants to win back. She has married Tom Buchanan, a wealthy man who is unfaithful, played with just the right macho brutality by Tristan Pate.
It all ends tragically with Nick, a sadder and wiser man, heading back to his roots and leaving the decadent world of West Egg behind. Although Sharkey has adapted the book with considerable skill and resource it remains stubbornly resistant to dramatisation. Gatsby is too much of an enigma, and Daisy too selfish and silly for one to care about what happens to them.
Nick Carraway: Adam Jowett.
Tom Buchanan: Tristan Pate.
Daisy Buchanan: Celia Cruwys-Finnigan.
Jordan Baker: Celeste De Veasey.
George Wilson: Tom Neill.
Myrtle Wilson: Stacey Ghent.
Jay Gatsby: Max Roll.
Director: Stephen Sharkey.
Musical Director and Arranger: Ellie Verkerk.
Designer: Victoria Spearing.
Movement Director: Bronya Deutsch.
Lighting Designer: Charlotte McClelland.
Costume Designer: Jenny Little.
13-14 October – Artsdepot, Finchley.
15-17 October – New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth.
19-20 October – New Barn Theatre, Blandford Forum.
22-24 October –Connaught Theatre, Worthing.
27-28 October – Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy.
29-30 October – The Brunton, Musselburgh.
2-6 November – Dundee Repertory Theatre, Dundee.
10-11 November – Octagon Theatre, Yeovil.