Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

An evening of romance, comedy, music, jealousy, tension, drink and death.!

The Great Gatsby

Theatr Clwyd and Guild of Misrule , The Dolphin Hotel, Mold. , March-03-18
The Great Gatsby by Theatr Clwyd and Guild of Misrule I went to a pub in Mold the other evening, not for a drink but to attend a 1920's Long Island party. This was at the Dolphin Hotel prior to refurbishment, the venue for Theatr Clwyd's promenade version of The Great Gatsby.

And quite an occasion it proved to be. Crowded, noisy, immersive and an amazing and memorable experience. The audience had been invited to dress in 1920's style which my wife and I did, as indeed did many others. We were shown into the very noisy bar by a dapper American gent who started reminiscing quietly to my wife, which reminiscence segued into the opening paragraphs of the book and the play had started.

Soon we moved into another room, clearly the ballroom, and cast and a good number of the audience broke into a Charleston. The impact of this, being right on top of it, was extraordinary. That remained true for the rest of the evening with more Charlestons and stunningly effective songs in that same space.

In the meantime Gatsby had arrived and a group was invited up to his room where he outlined a dubious scheme for making money, possibly indicating that his respectability might not be the whole picture.

This was merely the prelude to an evening of romance, comedy, music, jealousy, tension, drink and death. Through all this there was the powerful sense that we the audience were complicit in the events that unfolded.

The acting was extraordinary because not only did the cast have to play their parts, they also had to respond in character to the audience who were surrounding them. They also had to ensure, also in character, that the audience moved about the venue where they were next needed.

And above all they had to present a vivid and true impression of the book and in this they succeeded superbly.

Oliver Towse is a perfect Gatsby, smooth yet with the rough edges showing through, and looking superb in the salmon coloured suit he wears for courting.

His courting of Daisy, Amie Burns Walker exquisitely right, following the hilarious and audience involving setting up of afternoon tea, is awkward, funny and with the first hints of the danger to come.

Bethan Rose Young and Matthew Churcher as the working class Wilsons are vulnerable and out of their depth, which leads to devastation. Jake Ferretti is all pent-up anger as Daisy's husband and his explosion of violence against Gatsby is all the more powerful for being so on top of us.

Zoe Hakin is the perfect gossip monger as Jordan Baker, never afraid to stir it. Michael Lambourne is an excellent narrator, observer, outsider as Nick Carroway, would-be calming influence but calm is not the order of events.

Director and adaptor, Alexander Wright, has done an amazing job in both roles and my compliments to all the backstage people who transformed the venue into the glittering, glamorous world we become part of.

Reviewed by: Victor Hallett

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