Review: THE GREAT GATSBY Heralds a Triumphant Opening for The Star Theatre At HCC

Brought to you by The Cape Town Theatre Company and Claremont Dramatic Society

By: Jul. 01, 2022
Review: THE GREAT GATSBY Heralds a Triumphant Opening for The Star Theatre At HCC

THE GREAT GATSBY is one of my absolute favourite books - the characters, the landscape, the era are all so beautifully described by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This stage adaptation by Stephan Fourie and directed by Neil Leachman did not disappoint. It is a joyous spectacle up on stage that stayed beautifully true to the characters and the story.

Something else that made opening night so magical was the location. I'd like to say thank you to the Cape Town Theatre Company and Claremont Dramatic Society for being the ones to reopen such a special theatre - I felt truly emotional walking into The Star Theatre at HCC (formerly the Fugard) and seeing it abuzz with people once again. It's been a long, hard road for the theatre industry and this felt like coming home again.

This production of THE GREAT GATSBY really looks the part. The costumes by Kagiso Makgalemele are gorgeous, and everyone looked so beautiful on stage. And Michélle Hough's set is very clever. I loved the moving walls and the massive glasses of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg up at the back of the stage staring down at us are brilliant. Some of the scene changes felt a little bit clunky, but hopefully that will smooth out now that opening night is done.

Looking to the cast - this is not an easy production because the characters are so iconic but the casting is good. I want to give special mention to David Wilke as Nick Carraway and Yuri Behari-Leak as George Wilson - beautiful performances. I was especially happy with Wilke's delivery of those last lines "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." - I had goosebumps.

The use of music throughout the production is worth going for alone. There's a band on stage, playing live for the party scenes and others, and The Four Singers - Megan Armstrong-Davies, Caitlin Barnard, Laukita Bonolo Moloi and Rhodah Martin - are exceptional. There is also plenty of dancing that I could see the cast had a lot of fun with. The only dancing that didn't really make sense to me was the scene between Daisy and Gatsby. Neither of them looked particularly comfortable with what they were doing, which I felt detracted from the important moment of the characters' reunion. Hopefully this was just opening night nerves.

THE GREAT GATSBY, presented by CTTC and CDS, is a great spectacle to watch and full of the nuances you find in the book - making me very happy.

Photo credit: Martin Kluge and Peter Multi Media

THE GREAT GATSBY is on at The Star Theatre at HCC until 9 July. Tickets are available on Quicket for R180.