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Royal Spa Centre review: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby, Royal Spa Centre studio, September 4.

By Barbara Goulden

It's not enough just to be able to act these days - in professional companies like Heartbreak Productions you have to be able to sing, dance, and play various instruments while looking asolutely fabulous.

All this and more was achieved when the Leamington-based company best-known for staging outdoor summer productions ventured into the Royal Spa Centre studio with their version of The Great Gatsby.

Set in the roaring twenties and based on the great American novel, this five-strong multi-talented team not only did The Charleston but taught a few steps to us in the audience so that we could capture the mood in the aisles.

This tale of feckless privileged youth set against enduring love provides pure fun at the start but slowly leads us into the darker reaches of the human heart in an end that was perhaps a little more protracted than I would have liked.

For all that, what performances!

Matt Williams, who plays the diffident Jay Gatsby makes a brilliant contrast to the assertive, womanising Rory Dulku, who plays Tom, married to Daisy, the love of Gatsby's life.

Then there's sassy Rachel Dussek, who plays Jordan while playing the oboe (I think) in a glittering green dress to die for, while colluding with bored, piano-playing Daisy (Eloise Hare) wearing an equally beautiful pale gown with exquisite detailing.

Finally, just as in the book, there is Nick, the narrator, played by Conor Hinds, who keeps everyone on track, and on their toes, as he relates the basic story as all five seamlessly morph in and out of other crucial characters in the plot.

I absolutely loved the versatility, the voices and the vigour of it all.

Sadly, due to Covid, this funny, poignant production only enjoyed a handful of outings this summer. I do hope director Lowell Walker and executive director Maddy Kerr can reprise it in next season's programme.

Picture: David Fawbert


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