Monday, 21 March 2022

REVIEW: The Great Gatsby at Gatsby’s mansion at Immersive LDN

Once penned as a jazz age classic, a tale of lavish glamour with “gleaming, dazzling parties”, now Immersive Gatsby has taken every inch of storytelling from page to utter spectacle; a captivating theatrical experience you would be a fool to miss. If I could give a production 10 stars, this would be it! So rare is an immersive show where you truly feel part of the story and not just like a spectator looking into a fish tank. 

Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s roaring and vivid novel, Alexander Wright’s The Great Gatsby was executed with such commitment, heart and decadently yummy indulgence which every Gatsby themed party should command. As each group arrived to the Gatsby mansion, we were greeted by the devilishly charismatic Rosy Rosenthal played by Greg Fossard, who took us through the house rules. Once inside the main space, it’s a free for all, tables dotted around the room with velvet chairs so you can sit back and enjoy the ambience, relish in the jazz music, mood lighting and the most delicious cocktails from the bar. The characters seemed to integrate into the room and with the audience encouraged to dress for the occasion, it is done so subtly that the experience organically begins.

The plot takes us in all sorts of directions – literally, the audience get taken off here and there into different rooms, different scenes so every individual audience member could witness an entirely different show. The timings and narrative are implemented to perfection with such poise and elegance I stopped myself to think of the mechanics of the whole concept and found myself in awe. Just like Jay Gatsby’s fictional parties, we are too, able to walk through his mansion into different rooms and take part in the scene at hand, the actors involving us as if we’re old trusted friends. We see the drama unfold between Tom Buchanan, his wife Daisy and her first love Jay Gatsby in a sordid evening of opulence, infidelity and wild antics.

The set was just sensational. The main room hosts a platformed stage with piano, mic, drum and guitar, ready to be played by the actors at different points, a bar and a staircase, all decorated in that instantly recognisable 1920s art deco Gatsby interior. The other rooms I got to see throughout the experience were Gatsby’s office - authentic with a library and hidden door, a small parlour room with records and a small dressing room with beautiful gowns hung across the wall. For the final scenes the whole group were reunited in the main space to see the action unfold around us.

Musically, the show was riveting. From the gorgeously composed sounds of Brown, Sitima and Sims to the live music and singing, there is not one talent that took amiss in this show. Steve McCourt who played George Wilson showed off his many skills with his piano playing and deep velvety voice. The energetic dance of the Charleston was performed numerous times and even broken down and taught to the audience; as I said this is truly immersive, there is no hiding from the audience participation. 

I could sit and write praise of every single actor in the show and how they wowed and dazzled but I would be here all day. I must however mention the chemistry between Hugh Stubbins and Jessica Hern who portray the characters of Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker. No casting so incredibly perfect have I seen in such a long time. The characters seemed to be physically plucked from the page and brought into the room in front of our eyes. Hern’s fierce and mesmerising look had us hooked from her entrance, and combined with her powerful, attention-drawing voice and Stubbins’ effortless likeability and presence, this pair thrilled and made a lasting impression.

From the moment I entered the building until the second I walked out, I was truly consumed by the grandeur and extravagance of the whole experience; the PERFECT night out in London. At the risk of writing a book about how entirely superb this production is, I shall conclude with a simple command: Go and see The Great Gatsby at Immersive LDN!

Review by Esther Neville

Rating: ★★★★★

Seat: Immersive | Price of Ticket: £48

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