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#21 Lady Nijo

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 11:29 PM

These are the kind of theatrical events that I live for. Bring it on!

#22 Honoured Guest

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 02:51 PM

Any of you seen this yet? Would you recommend it? Was it what you expected?

#23 drmaplewood

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 09:10 AM

Went to the first performance yesterday. My head is still spinning from it but it was absolutely extraordinary. The first 20 minutes or so are very static and is simply Shepherd reading the book aloud like an audiobook and I was worried that this wasn't going to be for me, but then it takes off and you never look back after that. Despite its length, I was never bored once and there's always ALWAYS something happening even when the cast are silent. Understandably, it received a multiple curtain-call standing ovation which was incredibly moving. It made me realise a comedic side of the novel that I never took notice of before and the cast members performing multiple roles seems effortless and truly inspiring.

As I say, I'm still taking it all in and will write more when I get the chance but I implore anyone dithering about whether to go or not to book!

#24 art87

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 03:18 PM

First things first, this is a long show by any standard. It is effectively a 3hr30min matinee followed by a 3hr15min evening show each with one interval, so effectively 2 long plays in a day. Act 1 is just over 2 hours long on its own. The whole thing including intervals and dinner taks 8hrs15mins - even Wagner would be proud! I draw attention to this, not because it's boring or bad, but simply because unless you want to spend a whole day hearing the Great Gatsby in it's entirety, and you are ready for extended periods of listening and watching you won't enjoy this!

Having said that, if it sounds like it might be your sort of thing, then you will almost certainly love it. By using the book rather than an adaptation you lose none of the amazing prose and still get all the action. The is very funny and anarchic in parts and yet loses none of the novel's melancholy tone at the end. And while it is obviously extemely reverential to the source, they aren't afraid of making fun of a couple of F. Scott Fitzgerald's odder sentences. Scott Shepherd gives a brilliant central performance as Nick, (as do the rest of the cast) and the show is filled with some really wonderful moments. There are a few bits where the energy drops slightly (due to the book rather than the show, I feel) but then it does something to surprise you all over again and you fall back in love with it.

Special mention has to go to the final chapter which, as written, is filled far more with musings than plot, but as told by the company, and Scott Shepherd in particular, becomes very moving - I definitely found it easier to engage here than reading it. The audience rose to it's feet at the end and there were many moments of complete silence thoughout the afternoon/evening - not bad for a full theatre and the longest show I've ever seen. So while it's not going to be for everyone, and shouldn't be undertaken lightly, if you do think it sounds fun, you should abolutlely take the plunge. I think it speaks volumes that I keep imagining other short classic novels they could do.

#25 Jamiem

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 05:29 PM

Truly what theatre should be all about....an event and a memory forever

#26 RH1234

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 06:57 AM

I sadly have to disagree with these positive reviews...

I love the novel, but having it read out for 8 hours simply did not translate into a satisfying theatrical experience. In fact, I'd go as far as to say 3/4 of the show was dull, and that is because a lot of the time it is just Scott Shepherd reading from the book, with very little else happening on stage. And I can't say I thought his performance was brilliant - he read most of it with minimal energy, so much so that it became a monotonous drone at points.

It seems odd to call an 8 hour production lazy, but I really think this is. Aside from the useful advertising gimmick of reading the entire novel, a proper adaptation could have been so much more thrilling. For instance, the scene in the hotel room, the 'I never loved you scene', was deprived of real tension or emotion by the constant injections of 'he said', 'she said'. It simply isn't interesting to watch someone walk through a door and then say 'I walked through a door'. But apart from the lazy translation to stage, I found the staging itself lazy. As I mentioned, for much of it Scott Shepherd is alone on stage reading, and the only really imaginatively, excitingly staged scenes are Myrtle's party and the reunion between Daisy and Gatsby. The rest, whilst with some nice moments, very unfocused and ultimately dull.

The audience leapt to its feet at the end... though that included the numerous people in front of me who had been asleep for much of the fourth act. I leapt to my feet too in fact, because my legs needed a stretch! As much as I love theatre, 8 hours of it proved quite testing, especially when it is as static as this was.

Can't say I'd recommend it. Especially for 70. Most of it wasn't theatre, it was audiobook.

#27 Jamiem

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:20 PM

You really don't know what you're talking about

#28 Laughingmonsta

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:31 PM

Jamiem everyone is entitled to an opinion, and just because they disagree with you does not make their opinion any less valid than your high praise!
This is my street, I smile at the faces I've known all my life, They regard me with pride.

#29 RH1234

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:41 PM

Quote

You really don't know what you're talking about

Well that's just rude isn't it.

#30 popcultureboy

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 12:49 PM

Very rude.

That said, I don't agree with your take on it, RH1234. I saw it on Friday and rate it as being the greatest theatrical experience I've ever had. And I've had a LOT. I didn't think the energy was minimal, nor was it by any means a lazy production. The evocation of all the locations and events, with minimal props and without ever leaving the office setting, was for me bravura stuff. Shepherd was astounding, particularly in the last 45 minutes, when he was "off book" and performing other characters besides Nick. I was never less than enthralled by it and have been urging all my friends to see it ever since. Will be interested to read the reviews tomorrow.




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