Review Roundup: Immersive THE WOLF OF WALL STREET Opens at 5-15 Sun Street - What Did the Critics Think?
The immersive production of The Wolf of Wall Street is making its world premiere, which brings to life the highs and lows of the infamous '90s New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort. The Wolf of Wall Street is based on Belfort's memoirs, as depicted by Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese's movie of the same name, and features a 16-strong cast who will play multiple characters from Stratton Oakmont stockbroker start-ups to the FBI, plunging audiences into a world of greed, power and excess.
The production plays at 5-15 Sun Street, Central London and will be staged across four floors and 25 rooms. It is adapted and directed by Alexander Wright(The Great Gatsby - the UK's longest running immersive show).
Let's see what the critics are saying...
Aliya Al-Hassan, BroadwayWorld: There is also none of the black humour that was the standout quality of the film, no slapstick behaviour from Donny, or indeed Jordan himself. Sound proofing also needs to be improved, as you frequently stand around hearing singing, laughing or shouting from a nearby room, which is both distracting and creates a creeping suspicion that someone else is having a better time than you. It is a complex operation when you have different groups diverging to have different experiences. What is essential is that whichever group people end up in, they have a great time. This is distinctly not the case here.
Kate Wyver, The Guardian: The best immersive theatre makes its audience feel like they are being let in on a secret. At Alexander Wright's immersive production The Wolf of Wall Street, based on the Jordan Belfort memoir made infamous by Martin Scorsese's adrenaline-fuelled film, too many of us are squeezed into flimsily clad, shoddily decorated, too-tight spaces for any of the feral and fraudulent action to feel intimate.
Ka Bradley, TimeOut: Character development consists of people yelling 'fucking' every seven words and getting horny for fake $100 dollar notes, with the exception of Nadine Belfort, Jordan's long-suffering wife, who is played with ferocity, tenderness and complexity by Rhiannon Harper-Rafferty. Charlotte Brown as firebreathing PA Janet and James Bryant as king clown trader Danny are also glimmers of light in the sludge, quick-witted with the banter. Overall this is a soulless, tedious production with very little to recommend it, least of all the rest of the audience, who do get suspiciously enthusiastic for racist slurs and misogyny. Give this a miss and try Wright's long-running 'Gatsby', which does everything 'Wolf' tries and fails to do.
Claire Allfree, The Telegraph: Part of the problem is that the format drains the story of much-needed tension. Where installation theatre pioneers Punchdrunk encourage the audience to discover the story for themselves, here you are locked into long, flabby, underwritten scenes that, given the material, lack the crackle of transgression, the queasy feeling you are in some way complicit, and the gathering sense that the dance can't last. At the same time, the show depends as much on the audience to buy into the idea they are having a good time as much as the audience depends on the show to provide it, which feels a bit rich. I spent the second half trooping after FBI agents as part of the sting operation; perhaps elsewhere, other audience members were having more fun.
Theo Bosanquet, The Stage: Ultimately, the biggest crime committed in Alexander Wright's production is the criminal waste of a good cast. James Bryant makes a charismatic Danny, while the underused Oliver Tilney encapsulates Belfort's bullyboy charm and Rhiannon Harper-Rafferty impresses as Nadine. But it's never a good sign for any production when one's overwhelming emotion is pity for its performers.