‘The Great Gatsby’ Review: Raising a Glass to an American Tragedy

‘The Great Gatsby’ Review: Raising a Glass to an American Tragedy

There ain’t no party like a Jay Gatsby party — in “The Great Gatsby,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s debonair poster boy of American ambition and the nouveau riche never lets the festivities stop. Neither does Immersive Everywhere’s “The Great Gatsby: The Immersive Show,” a jovial feast for the senses that never, in its lagging two-and-a-half-hour running time, truly rises above the status of a mere attraction. In Fitzgerald’s classic book, Gatsby is a man who successfully, if shadily, works his way to a fortune, which he spends on a Long Island mansion where he hosts extravagant soirees. Gatsby’s neighbor, Nick Carraway, narrates Gatsby’s tragic — and, ultimately, fatal — fall from the world of the rich and famous. Gatsby hopes to woo Nick’s cousin Daisy, with whom he had a love affair that he’s never forgotten. But Daisy has married the brutish Tom Buchanan, a chauvinist blowhard with a violent temper and a mistress on the side. As the love triangle threatens to tear apart their lives, the glamour of bourgeois living proves to be no more than a guise covering their emptiness. Adapted and directed by Alexander Wright and presented at the appropriately swanky Park Central Hotel, this “Gatsby” has a humble side entrance next to a Starbucks — more 2020s than 1920s for sure. An entryway leads to a dazzling Art Deco-style ballroom with a large bar, stage and grand staircase where flappers dance, dapper-suited gentlemen drink and fashionable audience members blend in with the cast in a sea of sequins, beads, fedoras and fringe. Nick Carraway (played by Rob Brinkmann) moves through the crowd and begins his tale, as Gatsby (Joél Acosta) watches from the top of the staircase in a white suit with black lapels and a sharp pair of wingtip shoes. Main plot points, including major introductions and confrontations, are played as set scenes that everyone witnesses together in the main space. Otherwise Nick and the various characters peel groups of audience members away to separate rooms off the main ballroom: lounges and boudoirs styled with domestic extravagances of the time, including tufted velvet couches […]

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