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Thursday, 16 May 2019

The Great Gatsby | Mayflower Theatre

I have loved The Great Gatsby for the longest time - I read it for the first time when I was at sixth form college, and instantly fell in love with the writing and the characters. As well as being a fabulous read, it's been adapted for film, and now it's been turned into a ballet. I went to the ballet (for the first and only time) for my 21st birthday and loved the whole experience. So when I heard that the Northern Ballet were bringing their performance of The Great Gatsby to the Mayflower, I jumped at the chance to watch it*.

Image courtesy of the Mayflower Theatre

F Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby is set in 1920s America, when the American Dream was alive and kicking. Set on New York's Long Island, Nick Carraway becomes acquainted with his neighbour, the infamous Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is a mysterious millionaire with a few skeletons in his closet and a love for throwing parties. But as Nick gets to know Gatsby better, he discovers that all is not as it seems, and in fact Gatsby is hiding great loneliness, obsession and tragedy.

Image courtesy of the Mayflower Theatre
Northern Ballet's production of The Great Gatsby first premiered in 2013, and has since enjoyed two sell-out UK tours. The ballet is choreographed by David Nixon OBE and earned him a nomination for Best Classical Choreography in the 2014 National Dance Awards. Performed to the unforgettable music of Sir Richard Rodney Bennet CBE, played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia, The Great Gatsby also features a lavish set designed by Jérôme Kaplan, complimented by the dazzling costumes designed by Nixon.

Image courtesy of the Mayflower Theatre
I was absolutely mesmerised by the whole experience. The music was beautiful, the set was detailed but equally simplistic, and the dancing was on another level. I've always had a great appreciation for ballet dancers and their ability to tell a story and portray such emotion with their bodies - it really is something else. I particularly loved the integration of traditional 1920s Charleston in with the traditional ballet dancing. It made the performance feel really authentic to the time period it was set in, as well as being thoroughly entertaining (the Charleston is one of my favourite dances on Strictly Come Dancing after all).

Image courtesy of the Mayflower Theatre
Interestingly, there is no dialogue, which can make the story a little difficult to follow. I know the plot pretty well so had the general gist of it, but Stephen was slightly more confused by it all. By no means did this make the performance any less enjoyable, but it might be something to consider if you're not acquainted with the general storyline. The Great Gatsby has a romance story running through its core, and this was something the ballet was able to really portray. The chemistry between the dancers was really believable, and it added another layer to the performance. I was wholly invested.

Image courtesy of the Mayflower Theatre
If you're after an evening where you can truly escape into a story, I'd thoroughly recommend seeing a performance of The Great Gatsby. I was transported back to the 1920s, and could not tear my eyes away from the exquisite dancing. The Great Gatsby is being performed at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton until 18th May. You can book tickets online here, or by calling the Box Office on 02380 711811.

Image courtesy of the Mayflower Theatre
* My tickets for this performance were complimentary in return for my review of the show. All views and opinions are honest and my own. Thank you to the Mayflower Theatre for my opportunity.

Love Lexie

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