Young Ladies About Town

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Great Gatsby and Charleston charm

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Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Tuesday, 01 May 2012

I had never heard of Wilton’s music hall when I made my way there Friday night to see Peter Joucla’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. But as soon as I turned down a quiet little road in Whitechapel and saw the building, I could see the reasoning for the location. great-gatsby1

The crumbling façade of the hall makes it perfect for the location for an evening steeped in the history of the 20s. Its location and the run down look of the building made it feel seedy and dirty, but in a charming 1920s prohibition speakeasy way.

The moment you set foot inside the hall, the theatre starts. The barmen, armed with many bottles of Hendricks Gin, all had a Chicago-type accent adding to the speakeasy atmosphere. And the fact my gin and tonic was served in a jam jar just added to my excitement!  There were bootleg booze sellers strolling around the bar selling contraband pornographic pictures of buff men in sailor hats and little else. It was 50 cents for one or a $1.50 for four, so of course I went for four!


The divine Victorian music hall, dressed up for this 20s story, did provide a nice back drop to the play. But overall, this adaptation was just good, not amazing. Joucla’s direction meant that this adaptation was all bones and no meat. It lacked the power and emotion to do the book justice. The chemistry between the characters, especially Daisy and Gatsby, just wasn’t really there - sadly I didn’t believe in their relationship.

However, the run down charm of the building, coupled with Charleston dancing during the interval and a 20s style jazz band after the performance, saved this production. It may not be the best play in the world, but the atmosphere of the event meant a good night was still well and truly had.

Words by Melonie Clarke.

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