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The Great Gatsby review at Greenwich Theatre, London – ‘exudes glamour but lacks spark’

Celeste de Veazey and Celia Cruwys Finnigan in The Great Gatsby at Greenwich Theatre, London. Photo: Mark Holiday Celeste de Veazey and Celia Cruwys Finnigan in The Great Gatsby at Greenwich Theatre, London. Photo: Mark Holiday

It’s a big ask for a cast of seven to recreate the hedonism and excesses of the Roaring Twenties but the Blackeyed Theatre company rises to the challenge admirably. Aided by a simple yet stylish white set with hints of art deco, the cast members exude the glamour and frivolity of the era.

As the narrator, Adam Jowett is a smooth and intelligent Nick Carraway, who has just enough detachment to distance himself from the self-absorbed, shallow nature of his friends. Celeste de Veazey is also very convincing as golfer Jordan Baker, who has a mild and rather unemotional liaison with Nick. That De Veazey has a very 1920s look also adds to her authenticity.

Unfortunately the Gatsby hype isn’t quite as great as it ought to be. His enigmatic character simply isn’t built up enough, so when first the audience sees him, he is revealed just as an affable young man with an all-consuming crush, and it’s not too much of a surprise. Plus that special spark between Gatsby (Max Roll) and Daisy (Celia Cruwys-Finnigan) is perhaps too subtle to be recognised – she seems far happier in the arms of husband Tom (a very impressive Tristan Pate).

The multi-talented cast plays an array of musical instruments and sings a collection of songs throughout the show in a fashion audiences have come to expect from actors. But it is remarkable that the performers can produce such diverse musical accompaniment with only a pianist for company, and it is so slickly done that it could (and shouldn’t) go unnoticed.

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A cast of just seven manages to create a roaring party atmosphere of the 1920s but the mysterious quality of Gatsby himself is somewhat lost