Reviewed by Lucy Gwilliam
The classic 1920s novel The Great Gatsby is brought to life on the live stage at The Lowry theatre in Salford Quays, Manchester this week. This adaptation by Northern Ballet takes the story of Jay Gatsby, a young and mysterious millionaire and mixes it with beautiful classic dance incorporated with the 1920s dance.
I have never read the novel or even seen the film of the same name, so I was intrigued to experience such a popular story. I am a huge fan of the ballet and have seen many Northern Ballet shows including Casanova and Goldilocks and the Three Bears, so I was excited to see if this show would live up to my expectations.
The story focuses on a group of characters and the determination to live the American Dream. Jay Gatsby (Ashley Dixon) who lives a glamorous lifestyle and hosts many parties, is on a mission to rekindle his romance with his first true love, Daisy Fay (Antoinette Brooks-Daw). Daisy is however unhappily married to Tom Buchanan (Sean Bates). Tom his however having an affair with Myrtle Wilson. Tom is aware of Gatsby’s longing to win Daisy back. Myrtle Wilson (Minju Kang) lives with her husband, George above his garage. George (Mlindi Kulashe) suspects that myrtle is having an affair and decides to take his wife away from her lover. Cousin of Daisy is Nick Carraway (Kevin Porung), who is a bondsman starting a new job in New York. He is neighbour of Gatsby and helps to reunite his cousin with her former lover. And finally, Jordan Baker (Pippa Moore) is Daisy’s best friend and dating Carraway.
The ballet unravels their lust, love and tragedy in such a beautiful and moving way.
There was one scene in particular that I enjoyed the most and this was during Act 1, where Gatsby holds a huge party in his mansion. This party is attended by celebrities, film stars, actors, flappers and businessman. All of the attendees are dancing to The Charleston Dance. It was such an amazing scene. My husband and I really enjoyed how the production team incorporated such an iconic dance into the ballet. It gave the show so much more dimension.
I was very envious of the costumes used. There was so much variety and the style was so fitting with the 1920s era. I was actually quite envious of some of the dresses as they were so flattering of the dancers and they all looked fabulous.
The music was spectacular, the mix of classical and jazz was done exceptionally well and the use of singers in a couple of the scenes was very unexpected. The orchestra really did put on a show.
Overall the dancing was fantastic, the story was totally engaging and the music wonderful. We had such a great night.
Tickets cost from £18.50 to £49.50 (booking fees may apply).
Northern Ballet’s The Great Gatsby is at The Lowry in Manchester from 8-11 May 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000