The Racy, Adventurous Feel; a no-spoilers review

Tendai Humphrey Sitima & Hannah Edwardsin The Great Gatsby, Immersive London. (c) Helen Maybanks

Tendai Humphrey Sitima & Hannah Edwards in The Great Gatsby, Immersive London. Image (c) Helen Maybanks

 

This immersive adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novella has grown hugely since its 2017 premier at The Vaults Festival. We went to its new, larger venue in Mayfair.

‘I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.’

This quote from the book sums up our evening. While there was plenty of opportunity to join the fun, we could enjoy being observers too.

The dance – unlike the talented Tendai Humphrey Sitima’s marvelous musical medleys – is neither virtuousic or professional. Rather it’s a fun way to bring the audience into the party scenes. Like the sometimes anachronistic music, the mood and scene are created to give you a great night out with friends. You’re taught just enough to be able to join in with the cast and continue – if you want – after the performance is done.

We were impressed by the age range of the audience and – because so many had dressed for the evening – at the outset enjoyed guessing who was audience and who was part of the cast. While you can join in as much or as little as you like, it’s not interactive in the way of Secret Cinema (where you can riff with the cast as part of the experience) but it is huge and immersive. There’s a great buzz. Watch from the side or dive right in. If you’re up for it the actors will cajole, invite or drag you along. The choice is up to you.

Despite – or maybe because of – all this, we had fun. Because different performances are given in different room you could go back several times and still find somethign new.

To quote the book, go for ‘the racy, adventurous feel of it at night, and the satisfaction that the constant flicker of men and women and machines gives to the restless eye.’ Go for fun, a little decadence, to dress up, or people watch. Go if you want the inevitable monologue and an all-comers dance.  To paraphrase the original again; ‘If this immersive Great Gatsby is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there is something gorgeous about it’. Want more? Stay home and read the book.

 

For tickets visit https://immersivegatsby.com/event/the-great-gatsby/

Amie Burns Walker and Oliver Tilney are Associate Directors and Fiona Kingwill is Resident Director.
Choreography is by Holly Beasley-Garrigan, design by Casey Jay Andrews, sound design by Phil Grainger and
lighting design by Rachel Sampley. The original production was created by Holly Beasley-Garrigan, Amie Burns
Walker, Hannah Davies, Phil Grainger, Michael Lambourne, Thomas Maller and Oliver Tilney. This new
production of The Guild of Misrule’s THE GREAT GATSBY is produced by Immersive Everywhere, with co-
producers Gavin Kalin Productions and Glynis Henderson Productions, with Theatr Clwyd and We Culture
Connects as Associate Producers.