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REVIEW: Looking for Gatsby at the Theatre Royal Windsor

Looking For Gatsby is at the Theatre Royal Windsor until Wednesday, October 31

Siobhan Newman

Siobhan Newman

REVIEW: Looking for Gatsby at the Theatre Royal Windsor

Be borne back to F Scott Fitzgerald’s story with music, song and a river of words.

This musical version, by Ruby In The Dust theatre company, starts with a bang and a song.

We’re all ‘welcome to Luna Park, the best speakeasy in town’, under the crescent moon in a bar looking well past its best.

Then Daisy walks into the joint and says she’s looking for Gatsby  and the story begins to roll.

It’s 1928, five years after the story ends and the speakeasy is owned by Meyer Wolfshiem (played with great presence by Jon House) an associate of Jay Gatsby.

We see Gatsby  at  his mansion in West Egg and find out his house is opposite that of Daisy, his lost love, now married to old-money, acknowledged adulterer Tom Buchanan.

Daisy (the excellent Beth Burrows) and her friends enjoy their cocktails and privilege, looking pretty in Jazz Age outfits, but there’s a strong undertow of menace.

Myrtle (Ellen Chivers) sings of desire for Tom, crying: “every time I look at him I lose another layer of skin.”

It  gives you a shiver even if you don’t know what’s coming.

I loved the ‘Sozzled Sister’ song ­ and the big party scene before the escalating heat, drink and deception bring these ‘careless people’ to a reckoning.

Lovers of the book will be glad to see how many of the famous lines are in the script by the way, ‘careless’ it is not.

The cast of ten multi-talented performers do well with Linnie Reedman’s musical and capture the light as well of the shade of the fairytale. Special mention to Matthew Bugg who plays instruments and characters in fantastic, and seamless, style.

Looking For Gatsby adds a fresh dimension to a story that still exerts such a pull – give into it.

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