A rhapsody in creams, elegant costumes, divine dancing and the most fitting of music (played live by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia) from Richard Rodney Bennett and others. David Nixon’s interpretation of Scott Fitzgerald’s novel of lost love looks and sounds utterly romantic, mysterious and sad.
Gatsby and inevitably brings to mind elegant parties. These are splendidly done. The first is dominated by the Charleston, of course, but not in a madcap, frantic way. There is elegance and joy in the movement, much wit and a bubbling spontaneity. The second has the smoothest and lightest of tangos, when issues are becoming more serious.
The younger Daisy’s frivolity is made plain as she cavorts with the younger Gatsby’s soldier companions. The older Daisy and Gatsby (Martha Leebolt and Tobias Batley) dance together before a wall of windows, as the story moves towards tragedy, and their younger selves (Michela Paolacci and Jeremy Curnier) can be seen through the glass - a scene made all the more poignant with the voice of Bennett singing I Never Went Away.
The characters are shallow, almost as selfish as they should be, but Nixon’s ballet is more concerned with Gatsby’s obsessive dream than underlying greed and corruption. Devotees of the novel will still enjoy the show. Newcomers to the story will appreciate more clarity in the second act. We will all appreciate a touch less melodrama when the adult Daisy and Gatsby meet.
Nixon has long wanted to take a look at Gatsby. I for one am grateful that he has done.