Dance Review: Northern Ballet’s The Great Gatsby

The Northern Ballet's production of The Great Gatsby - picture by Bill Cooper

The Northern Ballet's production of The Great Gatsby - picture by Bill Cooper - Credit: Archant

GATSBY is the word on everybody’s lips at the moment, so it couldn’t be more fitting that Northern Ballet showed their adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic novel at Sadler’s Wells on Tuesday.

Right from the word go director David Nixon does a grand job at recreating the opulence of the Roaring Twenties where booze came in abundance.

Act One sees Nick Carraway (the book’s narrator) relocate to New York and become drawn into complicated social circles after meeting mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby who is pining for his lost love.

For much of the first hour the performers frolic at wild parties in glitzy flapper frocks and dance to a jazz-infused score by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.

The party numbers are some of the most accomplished and the playful Charleston moves convey the 1920s style without detracting from the classical ballet steps.

But it’s really Act Two where the action takes hold and the tangled plot begins to unravel.

Gatsby is desperately trying to win back the affections of the beautiful Daisy Buchanan but first he has to get past her adulterous husband Tom.

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His part is strongly danced by Kenneth Tindall but disappointingly the same cannot be said of Tobias Batley who plays a tentative Gatsby unable to tap into the hedonistic and charismatic side of his character.

As the piece moves to its dramatic denouement theatre-goers unfamiliar with the story could struggle to keep up, however this is nothing a glance at a synopsis beforehand wouldn’t prevent.

At times this performance popped and bubbled like a glass of champagne, yet it’s just a shame it couldn’t quite hold its fizz.

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