Review: Northern Ballet - The Great Gatsby @ New Theatre
A ballet of The Great Gatsby? What will they think of next?
This works very well as a piece of dance and perhaps more ballets based on great literary reads should follow. How about Moby Dick or even War And Peace? Here F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel is transformed into the dance work we should have. The book is less than 200 pages and can easily plop itself onto the stage. The wonderful thing about this production is how much it owes to the era it’s based in, the 1920s.
It’s certainly one of my favourite decades of the last century. The Charleston, foxtrot, American tango and waltzes all had time here. The music by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett (who sadly died last year) had incorporated an array of jazz that goes beyond any conventional ballet. The roaring twenties has engulfed this ballet.
The story is just basically Gatsby (a rich young thing) and his friends endeavour to drink and party, whilst he wants to reclaim an old flame, Daisy Buchanan. Although I knew the basic story, as always with ballet you can stumble to know what is happening. You have to give it your all when it comes to concentration.
Many dance numbers proved the dancers agility and prowess. The jazz helped to complement their movements. The percussion in the second act was quite intense, as it continually played out for some time. One or two songs were added, which was pleasant, since so much in ballet is speechless. The dancers really seemed to enjoy doing the conga. The glass in the back of the set made them looks like people in a Dali painting, with smeared, out-of-proportion bodies.
If you love jazz or just fancy a great fusion of dancing then head over to the New. You may find yourself leaving at the end transformed into a flapper.