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gatsbyThe elegance of the twenties, the passions and betrayals of a band of swinging lovers and the threat of trench-coated gangsters. All these provide the shifting landscape for Northern Ballet’s plot-intensive dance version of Fitzgerald’s novel which fills the stage with the frenetic energy of the Jazz Age and the melancholy of Gatsby and Daisy’s doomed romance. At times the production evokes the striking visuals of Sophie Treadwell and Elmer Rice’s Expressionist American theatre, at others it has the look of an Edward Hopper painting brought to life. I don’t know the story well enough to follow every narrative nuance, but when we simply revel in the beautiful physicality of the shifting relationships and the decadence of the parties, the tone and subtext offer rich rewards. In addition to the seven principal characters, Gatsby and Daisy are haunted by their younger selves, which brings some wonderful images as past and present, youth and maturity meet. The music taken from various works by Richard Rodney Bennett (including ‘Murder on the Orient Express’) introducing a suitably cinematic tone to the evening. Gatsby is everywhere at the moment, the new film around the corner, a couple of musicals and now a ballet… perhaps the proximity to the Wall Street crash is proving all too relevant. I must, by the way, confess a vested interest; Gatsby’s Co-Director is my own dear mother, Patricia Doyle, so I was very proud to see her take to the stage at the end of the first night, resplendent in her new twenties bob.

One thought on “The Great Gatsby: Northern Ballet

  1. Pingback: Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby | A Cultural Cyclist

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