Monday, 17 October 2016

"The Great Gatsby" by Nottingham New Theatre.
Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside.
Nottingham New Theatre first performed this one hour piece back in December 2015 when, sadly I missed out on it. The play was then taken to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where I gather it was a big success. For one night only, it's back on campus at Lakeside.
Having seen several productions from the very talented group at the Nottingham New Theatre, they've proved themselves to be a very versatile group of theatre producers. Whether it be classic theatre such as Agatha Christie to more off the wall pieces like "MacBett" and "Rhinoceros", the NNT manage to produce some very exciting works.
With just one screen, four stools and five actors, they show that you don't always need fancy projections or sets to create watchable theatre. "The Great Gatsby" by F Scott Fitzgerald is the story of lost love and found love by the playboy Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. Told in the most minimalist way it gives your imagination great scope to picture the extravagance of the decadent 1922 Long Island jet set. One thing you don't have to imagine are the wonderful costumes and the fun dance routines.
Nick Gill plays World Wat 1 veteran Nick Carraway and in part plays the secondary role as narrator. It's nice to see the optimism that the character starts with ebbing away through the play.
Debutante Daisy is played by Sophie Walton and she plays the torn between two lovers flapper with a lovely feeling of mixed emotions once she has been found out by husband Tom, played by Harry Bradley.
Harry is perfect for the role of the muscular millionaire. Wonderfully imposing and arrogant and ready to step outside to fight for the love of his wife, Daisy against Gatsby.
Jay Gatsby is played by the suave and sophisticated Harry Pavlou. Gatsby's a cool character but with shady business connections, obsessed with Daisy whom he had met when he was a young military officer stationed at the Army's Camp Taylor in Louisville during World War I.
Rounding off the cast is the lovely Gigi George who plays golfer and girlfriend of Carraway's, Jordan Baker. Gigi also produced the play.
Directed and adapted by Laura Jayne Bateman, this is one play that, if it were on longer than the one night would be one most certain to get bums on seats because of the style and absolute joie de vivre, even with the darker ending compared to the rest of the play.
I must mention the lighting of the play as well because this came into play on several occasions with the screen to show in shadow profile events that were happening elsewhere and created an alternative and interesting image, Reminiscent of the old black and white films of the era. A really simple but effective touch designed by James Fox.
The NNT season is due to open soon and I for one am looking forward to seeing as much as I can of the season which will be performed at the New Theatre on the University campus. As a taster, this aperitif leaves me hungry for the main course..

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