Sunday, 6 December 2015

‘The honour would be entirely mine if you could attend my little party. Yours Sincerely, J Gatsby’ (Guild of Misrule's The Great Gatsby at The Fleeting Arms, York)

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The Fleeting Arms as become an unassuming members only venue for this production during December. Admittance to Jay Gatsby's party happens at the back back of the building . Guild of the Misrule's The Great Gatsby, under the direction of Alexander Wright and Jane Veysey, is a story told like none other!

The Fleeting Arms, usually an art space and pop up bar, has been transformed to Gatsby residence albeit one room used as a local drug store/reception area. The audience congregates there in anticipation of this production with drinks on sale at the drug store's pop up bar and the playing of jazz music of Irvine Berlin,and of the 1920s. The party begins when Nick Carraway (Michael Lambourne), acting as the unofficial narrator, introduces Gatsby and the high life he and his associates live up to.

With two bars at hand and many dress to impress the party commences.  There are no bystanders but the guests immerses in the story whether it is to assist Gatsby (Oliver Tilnery) in choosing what colour shirt he should wear to impress or passing on an important message from Jordan Baker (Holly Beasley-Garrigan) to Carraway.  The story is told across the building's three floors and there is something happening in every room so no one didn't feel not part of the story.  Jess Cainer's designs of the rooms accurately reflect the 1920's high society.  

Certainly immersing theatre with a combination of installation and performance at its best and flows swingingly with Gatsby signature cocktails.  On the entertainment menu is participating in games, dancing, singing and all that jazz which ensures maximum audience's interaction.  One witnesses, documented by F Scott Fitzgerald, how reputation and influence reigns Gatsby's world and not to mention excess, lust and liquor being commonplace.  All this leads to downfall whether it's personal or secular such as the Wall Street Crash at the end of the decade. 

A production not be missed where everyone tells the story whether a member of the cast or the audience.  It did feel a bit claustrophobic sometimes with the crowds, when travelling from room to room, which obscured seeing some of the action.  It feels that each audience member would certainly have a positive unique experience being told this tale in such settings not told before.

The Great Gatsby will continue to party on until New Year';s Eve and further information including tickets can be found here.

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