Ever since the creation of the first motion picture by the brothers Lumière in 1864, cinema has always tried to be as realistic and grandiose as possible, with the use of CGI, 3D, 4D, 5D…However, the theatre has won that race when it invented the concept of immersive theatre. I never would have imagined that it would be possible to break the fourth wall in such a manner. The relationship between art and spectator is stripped of all types of passivity by making the spectator an active character that is required to engage and participate in the story. And when it comes to this kind of experience, Gatsby immersive is a name that everyone knows in London, as it has been the longest-running immersive experience in the UK.
Adapted and directed by Alexander Wright, the play answers the prayers of anyone who has ever fantasized about attending one of Gatsby’s glamorous and eccentric parties. We took a leap into the past and felt the heart of a roaring 20s party hosted by none other than the charismatic “old sport”.
I recommend coming in advance, as the characters will greet you at the entrance, offer you a glass of wine as you enter the party, and let you enjoy the jazzy atmosphere while waiting for Gatsby to come and receive his guests. If you are lucky enough, you will be randomly invited to some private events throughout the night, like Gatsby’s secret business meeting or Nick’s and Ms. Baker’s date. Each guest experiences the night differently, as not everyone is invited to the same private meetings. This kind of layered mise-en-scène adds intrigue to the story, gives the actors a more intimate scene to interact with the public, and takes away from the spectators the omniscient point of view that they are usually granted in theatre.
The performances of the actors are all remarkable, balancing humour and drama while also giving great dancing and singing performances. Most importantly, they showcase an incredible ability to build a relationship with the public, as well as excellent improvisation skills proven by their witty comebacks. If you are shy, come prepared, because the actors WILL talk to you!
All in all, this play is a soon-to-be all-time classic of the London theatre scene, and I would recommend anyone to grab their costumes and buy their invitations to an evening of delightful escapism from modern times.
For more info, visit their website here: https://immersivegatsby.com/event/the-great-gatsby
Reviewed by Céline Galletti- Celine is a volunteer writer for Abundant Art. Originally from France and Italy, she follows her passion for writing and art by studying Comparative Literature at UCL, London. As an international student living in London, she is determined to fully experience and understand the city’s vibrant arts scene, and be a part of its creative storm.