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The Great Gatsby
"The honor would be entirely mine if you could attend my little party.
Yours Sincerely,
J Gatsby "

Cast in The Great Gatsby (Photo: Johnny Stephens)
The Guild of Misrule has found premises in London near Borough Tube to stage one of Jay Gatsby's infamous parties on the north shore of Long Island in the summer of 1922. Drawing on creatives from Secret Cinema, The Flanagan Collection and Belt Up Theatre, Misrule have produced an immersive experience from the 1920s with jazz bands, champagne and flapper girls dancing the Charleston. Like Punchdrunk's modus operandi, the audience, hopefully dressed in period, will be separated off by the cast to see various different parts of the novel's action.

As in the novel, Gatsby's friend, Nick Carraway (Dan Dinsdale) will narrate the love story between the mysterious Jay Gatsby (Ollo Clarke) and the woman he met when he was a penniless soldier in Louisville, Kentucky, Daisy Buchanan (Louise Williams). Sadly Daisy has married another, millionaire Tom Buchanan (Thomas Maller) and is now living on Long Island and her vacillating between Gatsby and Buchanan will form the romantic drama of the novel.

So it was out with the boa and on with the party frock and thirties shoes to review this party piece of twenties action. Like Secret Cinema you won't find out exactly where it is being held until you have secured your tickets for the night but it is easy to get to from Borough Tube Station in Southwark. The piece started two years ago in an empty North Yorkshire pub and word of mouth has brought it to the capital where it will stay until New Year's Eve.

As the audience are separated to view different areas, my experience will not be the same as others. A splendid Charleston dance for all is led by Nick's girlfriend and golfer, Jordan Baker (Holly Beasley-Garrigan, who doubles as the choreographer) and those that can will join the dance merriment. I was whisked off to hear some secret financial plans to increase my wealth and taste some illicit gin to give us background on our enigmatic host. Later we were involved in planning the afternoon tea at Nick's house to which Daisy will be invited with a hidden agenda. I also got to see inside the master bedroom suite in the Long Island mansion and later was taken by Wilson's wife Myrtle (Veronica Hare) as she faced up to her irate husband George (Phil Grainger) and packed to leave him.

The costumes are beautiful, girls in beaded, spangled frocks, men in sharp suits and hats. Do attempt to dress in something akin to the 1920s as it increases the enjoyment for everyone else as well if you look right.

The night I joined, white suited Ollo Clarke was playing our host with great conviction and a shadowy air of romantic obsession. The joy of immersive theatre is letting your imagination rip with no fourth wall to intrude on the experience and a very special night out, it is, with plenty of fizz and dance.

The novel which didn't sell well during F Scott Fitzgerald's lifetime, has become a classic as it captures the hedonistic life style of the wealthy, those who survived that terrible war and had something to celebrate. In 2012, I saw Gatz, a Gatsby adaptation go here which lasted eight hours and was the complete novel but this night out is much more fun!

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The Great Gatsby
Based on the novel written by F Scott Fitzgerald
Created by Alexander Wright and and the Original Company (Holly Beasley-Garrigan, Amie Burns Walker, Hannah Davies, Phil Grainger, Michael Lambourne, Thomas Maller, Oliver Tilney)
Directed by Alexander Wright
Starring: Ollo Clarke, Louise Williams, Thomas Maller, Dan Dingsdale, Holly Beasley-Garrigan, Veronica Hare, Phil Grainger, Toby Gordon, Ollie Tilney
Designer: Casey Andrews
Choreography: Holly Beasley-Garrigan
Lighting Design: Rachel Sampley
Sound Design: Phil Grainger
Running time: Two hours 30 minutes and dancing in the bar afterwards
Box Office:
Booking to 31st December 2017
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 29th September 2017 performance at a secret location
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