The Great Gatsby (taking place this month at Theatre Delicatessen) is not a traditional theatre production. There is no stage, there are no seats and yourself and other ‘guests’ comprise the majority of the cast. If you enter this mysterious venue not knowing the story of The Great Gatsby you will probably leave still not knowing the story of The Great Gatsby. But if you have ever entered into Gatsby’s world and have dreamt of attending one of his parties, conversing with Nick and dancing with Daisy put on your best flapper skirt, pin up your hair and get down to the Moor this December.
The show’s advertising gives nothing away about its format; you arrive in your 1920s attire and are guided through the back entrance knowing little more than this being a show with a twist. While the word interactive has the ability to evoke fear in even the most confident of theatre lovers. But, much like Gatsby himself, this air of mystery and intrigue is most definitely part of the appeal. The abandoned Woolworths’ winding, derelict passageways seem as though they were almost built just for this kind of experimental theatre.
As with most improvised theatre, the show is not at all polished which is as charming as it is reassuring; it is interactive but far from intimidating and everyone is able to decide on their own level of involvement. The drinks are flowing, both for the guests and the characters, lines are muddled and American accents slip but it’s hard to take issue with this, seeing the cast having as much fun as the audience creates a refreshingly relaxed and unpressurised atmosphere. If a word-by-word rendition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is what you seek this is not the show for you. The Moor’s production explores the spaces between the lines, the gaps in the story we all know and love, putting you at the forefront of the action in some of its most exciting, vibrant and heart-breaking scenes.
Immersive theatre does have its problems and serving champagne meant that the script was lost to audiences conversations. A mid-week viewing would most likely receive a much tamer crowd, but this might well reduce the level of participation. It’s a delicate balance to strike, but the performers handle it well, engaging with and introducing themselves to everybody as if old friends.
Whether studied years ago at school or read every night before bed, the Moor’s Great Gatsby performance is a truly grand evening for fans of the legendary novel. And, playing every night throughout December, it’s the perfect Christmas gift for your favourite English Lit student.
The Great Gatsby is at Theatre Delicatessen until 31 December.
There is also a 10% discount for students using the code: sneakystudent