There could be few who have read F Scott Fitzgerald’s proclaimed novel, or indeed to have seen its screen adaptations,  who did not wonder how this complicated and fast moving tale of intertwined relationships could be portrayed in the theatre.  However, this new adaptation for the stage by Stephen Sharkey for Blackeyed Theatre overcomes any such perceived obstacles. To some extent this is made easier by his sticking to the style of the novel itself as the plot unfolds through the eyes of narrator Nick Carraway (played convincingly by Adam Jowett who is rarely off the stage during the two-hour performance).

Set in 1923, this was a time of economic prosperity and its associated decadence; an era that saw the evolution of jazz music, flapper culture and massive social change (on both sides of the Atlantic). With its simple, yet stylish, monochrome set, wonderful costumes and clever use of projection (who will ever forget the ‘eyes’?), the ambiance of Long Island in the Roaring Twenties was truly created.

After a fast moving and at times confusing first half with lots of live music (produced by at least seven different instruments), dancing – and a brief interlude from the silent movies, where the seven-strong  multi-tasking cast not only swap instruments but characters, the play settled down in the second act as the story developed to its shocking conclusion.

It was with huge anticipation that the Friends gathered in the bar to welcome this young, talented and extremely versatile cast after their first night – billed as the ‘World Premier’ – performance.

Back (l-r): Celeste de Veazey, Tristan Pate, Celia Cruwys-Finnigan Middle: Tom Neil, Adam Jowett, Max Roll with Stacey Ghent in front

Back (l-r): Celeste de Veazey, Tristan Pate, Celia Cruwys-Finnigan
Middle: Tom Neil, Adam Jowett, Max Roll with Stacey Ghent in front

Tristan Pate

 

 

The bar was packed with cast members and practically the whole company – including Blackeyed’s Artistic Director, Adrian McDougall, Director Eliot Giuralarocca and Writer, Stephen Sharkey.  It was good to see some new Friends among the crowd at this party at Gatsby’s which went on till late!

 

 

Please click on any of the images above to enlarge.