Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Review: Gatsby at the Union Theatre

Union Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 12th April 2016

Since premiering at the King's Head in 2012, Linnie Reedman and Joe Evans' musical Gatsby has been staged several times in London, but the piece still feels like it is at the early stages of its development.

Adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, the piece is forgettable; the music is dull whilst the script is in a mess. Linnie Reedman's production doesn't know what it is trying to be; there are occasional hints of style but nothing is followed through. Overall it feels like different ideas have been chucked together for the sake of it and, as a result, Gatsby has no identity. Rather than creating an enticing atmosphere, the audience are simply made to feel very awkward and uncomfortable.

The choreography has no punch and the performances fail to make a bold impression. Sadly I could hardly hear most of the songs as the cast were drowned out by the musicians. The cast are underwhelming, but this is perhaps due to a lack of direction - some performances are wooden whilst others are too over the top. 

There was outcry when TOWIE star Ferne McCann was cast in a supporting role; however, she was the only member of the cast to project properly - I could actually hear what she was singing about, whereas other vocals were faint and drowned out.

Perhaps the team behind Gatsby have been working on the piece for so long that it's time for a fresh pair of eyes to come in and shake things up. If they want to move forward this show needs to be taken back to the drawing board. 

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Gatsby runs at the Union Theatre until 30th April 2016.

Photo Credit: Roy Tan

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