A Novel Experience: The Great Gatsby Immersive Show

Richard Foreman

The author of The Complete Pat Hobby went along to the Immersive Gatsby to partake in the decadent 1920s.
Home » Articles » A Novel Experience: The Great Gatsby Immersive Show

The Great Gatsby Immersive Show

Be transported back to the roaring twenties. Some people in the audience wore masks, perhaps worried about the tail end of the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1919. Many of the costumes on display were as colourful as the lighting. The wit was often as dry as the gin. The American accents held, as did, thankfully, the straps on the flapper dresses.

The show opens with Myrtle, ably played by Aimee Barratt – her voice as smoky as the atmosphere. Nick Carraway then takes over, to set the scene. Carraway, as in the novel, is the thread which runs through the narrative, even when events begin to unravel. The show is immersive, but not too much to the point of being distracting or chaotic. Parts of the audience are often led into different areas to view, or take part in, side scenes. It’s all done slickly, in a spirit of fun and storytelling. There’s always plenty going on, with a variety of characters, on or off the central stage. In the same way that it’s difficult, to the point of being impossible, to wholly consume the virtues of the novel in one reading, I would recommend more than one viewing for the hardcore fans to experience all that the show has to offer.

The audience loved it – and not just because they were liquored up. At one point I was worried that the people doing the Charleston might lead into performing the Macarena – but blessedly my fears were not realised. Credit should go to a number of the cast. Oliver Towse played Gatsby with competence, confidence and the right hint of mystery and melancholy. Myrtle and George (played by the multi-talented Steve McCourt) were worthy of their own show. Jessica Hern as the golfer, Jordan Baker, hit a hole in one throughout. She was smart, sassy and the character’s shallowness knew no depths. Credit should also go to the bar staff, but it’s not uncommon for actresses to play waitresses and vice versa.

Despite the tragic nature of the ending the audience left with a song – and not a little joy – in their heart.

Go see this show, should you have the good taste to be a fan of the novel. And even if you have already seen it you may want to give in to the temptation to see it again. Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can.

The Great Gatsby is on at Gatsby’s Mansion, Immersive LDN, 56 Davies St, London W1K 5HR

Richard Foreman is the author of The Complete Pat Hobby.