Review: Northern Ballet’s The Great Gatsby

Tobias Batley and Martha Leebolt in Northern Ballet's The Great Gatsby. Photo: Bill Cooper

Tobias Batley and Martha Leebolt in Northern Ballet's The Great Gatsby. Photo: Bill Cooper - Credit: Archant

The fag end of one of the modern era's longest depressions is an odd time for a revival of F Scott Fitzgerald's best known piece, but The Great Gatsby is everywhere right now.

To the upcoming Baz Luhrmann film you can add Northern Ballet's dance adaptation, which retells the story of the decadent 1920s Long Island social scene.

This production doesn't so much roar as glide though. In picking a compilation of Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's music for the score, artistic director David Nixon has surrendered the chance for a feisty period piece. The music is at times more Sunday matinee romance than earthy jazz –particularly odd during Tom and Myrtle's adulterous liaison – although this approach does allow for more classical dance.

And the movement is of the quality you'd expect from Northern Ballet, particularly visceral from Benjamin Mitchell as George. Giuliano Contadini (Nick) and Martha Leebolt (Daisy) keep clean lines throughout, with the odd hesitation from Tobias Batley (Gatsby).

There is a hollowness and a lie at the heart of Jay Gatsby and that is to an extent reflected in the lightness of the first half and the more direct second. This is an accomplished, well executed and enjoyable production, but it just misses out on being great.


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James Goffin

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The Great Gatsby runs nightly at Norwich Theatre Royal at 7.30pm until Saturday, with 2.30pm matinees on Thursday and Saturday

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