The Lost Gatsby

8p8 Theatre Company

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

From 12 August 2013 to 17 August 2013

Rating: **

Review by Graeme Strachan

While there have been several succesful cinematic adaptations of F Scott Fitzgerald's classic american novel The Great Gatsby, it's little known that the first attempt to film the story has been largely lost to history. Taking this as a leaping off point, 8p8 Theatre has constructed a plausible if flawed look into the production of this troubled creation.

Mired in complications, casting problems and on-set scandal, the 1926 silent film version was arguable more interesting because of what went on behind the scenes than what ended up on celluloid. Problems stemming from a lusty leading actor trying to lay every star in sight, and a clamour of aquaintances of Fitzgerald angry at the butchery of his work, add to the complex miasma of vying egoes and decadence.

While the look and the staging of the piece is wonderfully evocative of roaring 20s Hollywoodland, the actors fare less well with the dialogue, seeming more concerned with getting the accents right than letting the conversations flow. In fact it is almost a revelation when the tensions mount as the entire cast come alive with a passion and sincerity that is mostly absent from much of the rest.

While the world wearyness of the era is well documented, it shouldn't be reflected in the audience's minds so aptly. Quite simply there's a lot going on here, but the slightly charmless delivery keeps it from engaging as it could have done.