★★★★★ | The Great Gatsby – Northern Ballet

In 1922, Nick Caraway moves to Long Island, hoping to take advantage of the economic upturn. He buys a house near to his cousin, Daisy, who is trapped in an unhappy marriage to Tom Buchannan as a result of Tom’s infidelity and quick temper. Entering into the decadent and indulgent world of 1920’s extravagance, Nick attends the lavish parties thrown by his reclusive neighbour, Gatsby. Gatsby longs for his lost love, Daisy, and as the two rekindle their love; a chain of events is set in motion which impacts upon all of them as their world of excess and glamour comes crashing down.

Northern Ballet continues to surprise and delight in equal measure with this production. The show has an almost cinematic feel to it, combining detailed narrative, rich characterisations, sweeping scenes and a mixture of choreography, ranging from traditional ballet to the Charleston. The party scenes were an absolutely delightful, producing a genuine smile and conveying the fun and decadence of the era with the uplifting and joyous music and enthusiasm of the cast. This made the juxtaposition with the love story, the themes of loss and regret, loneliness and divided loyalties even more moving.

Giuliano Contadini brought a wide eyed innocence to the role of Nick Carraway; and Kenneth Tindall has never been better than in his role as the scheming and thoroughly unpleasant Tom Buchanan. Tobias Batley brought an effective, subtle performance of loneliness and regret as Gatsby and Martha Leebolt was superb as Daisy Buchannan. The entire cast deserve credit for the way in which; expressed only through dance; they were able to garner such rich depth of character for those involved in the narrative.
The music was very much in keeping with the time period, as were the cloche hats, flapper dresses and smart tuxedo’s, which filled out the cast’s wardrobe. The live orchestra once again played beautifully and the inclusion of two songs within the score added a twist which worked incredibly well, one of which immensely enhanced the beautifully poignant closing scenes.

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Northern Ballet was named Best Company at the inaugural Taglioni European Ballet Awards in October this year, and with the consistency and quality of their productions, it is not hard to see why. The running time for The Great Gatsby simply flew by and the show was not only utterly absorbing but was very difficult to fault. Very highly recommended.

The Great Gatsby is currently on national tour, visiting Canterbury’s Marlow Theatre, The Alhambra Theatre; Bradford, Saddlers Wells in London and Norwich Theatre Royal.

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For more information visit www.northernballet.com

About the author: Paul Szabo
In between visits to the theatre, watching films, photography, walking, scuba diving and singing (badly); Paul writes for TheGayUK.