Devonshire Park Theatre: Tuesday 8th – Saturday 12th September
It’s the boundary-pushing creative innovations that make Blackeyed Theatre one of the most exciting touring companies to visit Devonshire Park. If you saw Dracula last February you’ll be aware of the distinctive physical theatre and ensemble pieces that set this company apart.
This week, they recreate America’s ‘jazz age’ in 1920s New York for Steven Sharkey’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. With a sparse black and white set that is transformed by Lighting Director Charlotte McLelland’s mood lighting and Stephen Harrison’s projected animated sequences, all the ‘new rich’ glamour of Gatsby’s parties, the ‘old wealth’ splendour of the Buchanan’s home and the crumbling poverty of the Wilsons’ garage are brought to life. This production also makes engaging use of physical theatre and ensemble pieces, and showcases the cast’s multitalented performance skills through live, integrated music, with each actor demonstrating the ability to play a range of instruments as well as taking on the roles of a variety of characters.
Strong lead performances from Adam Jowett as Nick Carraway and Celeste De Veazey as Jordan Baker give shape to the narrative arc, and a range of convincing character roles from Tristan Pate, Celia Cruwys-Finnigan, Tom Neil and Stacey Ghent make for a memorable evening. Max Roll is suave and sophisticated as Jay Gatsby.
This production is both faithful and innovative in recreating the era, the romance and the tragedy of The Great Gatsby on the stage. It’s playing at Devonshire Park Theatre this week, and I urge you not to miss it!