Review: Production puts innovative spin on a classic as The Great Gatsby comes to Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch.
PUBLISHED: 12:09 16 April 2014 | UPDATED: 12:23 16 April 2014
People who think they know what to expect from The Great Gatsby may be surprised as an inventive play incorporating film footage and musical instruments continues its run at Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch.
A bold meta-theatrical prologue to the play surprises many members of the audience. It begins in a rehearsal space setting, with bare white washed walls and a few chairs arranged around the stage.
The actors arrive and gradually settle in to reading the script after they are encouraged by the “director” to remember the love story at the heart of the production.
This is undoubtedly achieved by the cast, as they make the flawless transition from reading their lines and eating doughnuts to sipping margharitas and addressing the timeless element of the love story at the core of the tale.
The stage transforms before the audience’s eyes and transports them from a rehearsal space to the lavish mansions of Long Island, allowing imagination to take hold and blurring the lines between fiction and reality in a unique and exciting way.
Callum Hughes plays Nick Carraway, and it is through him that we are told the story of the mysterious Gatsby and his fabulous parties in the roaring twenties era.
We see the love story develop, with Gatsby finally meeting Daisy again after years of being apart, and listen to her heartbreaking account of receiving his letter on her wedding day to the malicious Tom Buchanan.
Nick explains the enormous love that Gatsby has for Daisy in an emotional and touching way, and his observation that: “I think whatever he had started up in his heart had gone beyond her, had gone beyond everything,” is poignant.
The eight members of the cast take on multiple roles, picking up musical instruments and singing throughout the production. There is an interesting mixture of music, from unexpected snippets of an All Saints song and Justin Timberlake’s “Senorita” to 1920’s classic “What is this thing called love?”.
Sam Kordbacheh is graceful and sophisticated in his role as Gatsby. His elegant and poised demeanour breaks only when he loses his temper with Tom Buchanan, played fantastically by Sean Needham, in the fateful day in the swelteringly hot hotel suite.
Georgina Field plays Tom’s mistress Myrtle with an incredible emotional rawness, and her death scene is powerful in its intensity. Sam Pay is excellent as her heartbroken husband George, both sad and sinister in equal measure.
Ellie Rose Boswell excels as the self centred Daisy and Alison Thea-Skot is great in her role as outspoken golfer Jordan, who puts on a tough exterior but is noticeably upset at the way things end between herself and Nick. Stuart Organ brings humour to his role as mobster Meyer Wolfsheim with cuff links made of human molars.
The production is a breath of fresh air, making full use of multimedia elements to add to the atmosphere of powerful scenes such as Gatsby’s tragic death in his pool.
Through all this, it follows the directions given right at the start, The audience are never permitted to forget the all encompassing love that Gatsby holds for Daisy, and the heartbreaking conclusion that he cannot be with her.
The play runs until May 3. For more information about the performance or to book tickets visit www.queens-theatre.co.uk
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