The Great Gatsby is a classic, and a difficult one. It is so much of a classic that virtually everyone knows the basic story line, but not many know it so well that a company could be genuinely flexible in terms of production (as is the case with some classics, i.e Shakespeare plays). Enter: Immersive Experience.
Jay Gatsby is head over heels with his old love, Daisy Buchanan. Since they had last met, some five years ago, she got married. They meet again and have a short affair that simply cannot last. But this time, in this immersive experience, you can tell Gatsby to get his act together.
The traditional story line marches to its own drum, however the audience may experience much more. Rather than following one singular line, many of the scenes happen simultaneously, so many in fact, that it is nigh on impossible to partake in all of them. No worries though – each and every one is extremely exciting in its own right. Want to eavesdrop in Gatsby’s bedroom? Sure. Cut a deal? OK. Get a bit of gin in the library? Why not. Plus, there are supporting characters with their own stories who are just as willing to interact with you.
(By the way – if this puts you off a bit, do not fret – actors absolutely respect your boundaries).
Gatsby (Oliver Towse) is as charming and welcoming as it gets and more than eager to share his hearts greatest desires with you; Daisy (Lucinda Turner) is absolutely charming and charmingly void of any depth; Nick Carraway (James Lawrence) is this rare sort of a good guy who only can fall half in love with a spoiled socialite like Miss Jordan Baker (very confident Jessica Hern). Perhaps the best acting performance comes from Prince Plockey as Tom Buchanan who is utterly unafraid of being really and truly antipathetic which in turn makes him less so. And to give this pretty dull character this complexity is the real trick.
Honestly impressive, the set design is much bigger and detailed than one could expect. It is also much more traditional than some other immersive experiences available, which makes it much more intimate too – precisely as intimate as the big party should be (to paraphrase Miss Baker). Lighting is perhaps the biggest downside: big, traditional theatrical lighting is certainly effective in a sense that it does properly illuminate actors, but other than that, particularly during dance scenes and the intermission, it is simply too aggressive and distracting, oftentimes even sort of unsettling.
But the music is not. Even if you are not that much into dancing, worry not – dance you will. As we are approaching the 20s of our century, the cast will teach you how to travel in time a hundred years and do it in 1920s flapper style. Professional dancing scenes are absolutely stunning to watch, mostly because they sparkle with enthusiasm, not perfection – exactly as one would expect from guests at the party.
Go there. ‘Cause you’re gonna have fun. And if there ever was a right place to wear something unapologetically glamorous, it is this.
The Great Gatsby at Immersive LDN is booking until 31st May 2020. More information and tickets click here