Reviewed by Darryl Ryznar
Before I begin, I have to note: this performance of Great Gatsby, directed and adapted by Alexander Wright, is unlike any other performance I’ve ever been to. As an ‘immersive’ experience, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had visions of forced interactions with the actors, an air of chaos as everyone moved around, and too much going. How wrong I was – I can honestly say I was blown away. It was so much fun!
Upon arriving at the very normal London townhouse entrance, you can enjoy a drink at the Lucky Club bar – part of the Immersive LDN venue – which is very contemporary, full of neon signs, tasty bites and deliciously drinkable cocktails (I’d recommend the Pandaquiri!). From there you walk through the hallway, and up the stairs where you are greeted by cast members, in full character, to hear the rules for the evening (no mobiles, no loutish behaviour – the usual). You then enter the main event space, Gatsby’s party, and receive a glass of fizz to get you off with a pop! The creative team have spared no expense – the large room is accompanied by 20’s jazz flowing easily from the speakers; plush velvet cocktail chairs adorn the edges of the floor, with low, warm lighting helping to really create an ambiance. At the back of the room is a long bar, open before the performance, during the interval and at the end, serving a mix of beers, wines and Gatsby-themed cocktails.
While you wander around the event-space, the first thing you’ll notice is there’s no stage. As a fully immersive performance, you are not just part of the audience, you’re part of the performance. A party go-er at Gatsby’s mansion. The glitzy cast members wander through the crowd, chatting, cheersing and joking, easing you in before the performance kicks off. And then bam! It begins.
The Wilsons (played by Steve McCourt and Aminita Francis) set the scene with a duet on the piano. Hugh Stubbin’s slightly nervous Nick Carraway then begins the tale of the Great Gatsby where we then meet the stunning fun-loving Jordan Baker (Jessica Hern) and the gorgeous couple Daisy (Lucinda Turner) and stern Tom Buchanan (Jermaine Dominique) in a fun fast-paced dance number. The illusive Jay Gatsby (Oliver Towse) eventually makes his appearance and the fun and games really begin.
As the story is told, sections of the audience are herded into separate rooms to hear the inner thoughts and private discussions between the characters – super clever as the rest of the audience can still easily follow the story without feeling as though they ‘missed out’, which I can assure you they won’t have. If you aren’t in one of the rooms, the cast will keep you entertained whether it’s with their (often cheeky) take on the situation, or by performing a sultry song, or giving you a dance lesson. It’s all go, go, go!
Immersive LDN, is just off Oxford Street, and is close to Bond Street underground station. It’s incredibly central, with many pubs, restaurants, and public transport routes nearby, so I would recommend you get your 20’s-getup, and make a night of it by heading over to one of Gatsby’s glamorous parties.
A truly immersive, fabulous experience. Charleston-on-down to Immersive LDN before the end of January to get involved with Gatsby.
Rating: 5 Stars.
Tickets cost from £39.95
Great Gatsby at Immersive LDN from September 2021 – January 2022.
For more information or to book tickets visit https://immersivegatsby.com/event/the-great-gatsby or call the box office on 0203 053 1500.
Immersive LDN, 56 Davies St, London W1K 5JF