If you’re not convinced the nuances of F. Scott FitzGerald’s literary characters and their conversations will translate into a two act ballet, let Northern Ballet’s The Great Gatsby surprise you.
Choreographer, David Nixon CBE, has a roaring success reimagining the iconic 1920s characters and story. Given the complexities of the plot and multiple scene changes, there’s a remarkable amount of excellent and varied dance content in this production.
The cast on Wednesday night performed with aplomb. Each character convincing. The dancing polished and precise, doing justice to the moments of mirroring in the choreography.
The music – by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett CBE and orchestrated by John Longstaff and Gavin Sutherland – was superb. I always feel privileged watching ballet with a live orchestra. It does make a difference. Northern Ballet Sinfonia did not disappoint.
The vibrant rhythm of the literary work came across in the dynamic, energetic pacing of the ballet. Each scene transition perfectly integrated for a perpetual flow but with clear modulation of the narrative and just the right amount of contrast between scenes.
The colouring of this ballet plays a key role in achieving this modulation. The costumes, sets and lighting evoke the atmospheric colour palette of the 20s zeitgeist.
This was my first visit to Leeds Grand Theatre. What a fabulous building. Part of Leeds' impressive high Victorian architecture, it was designed by James Robinson Watson and opened in 1878. Absolutely love the gorgeous peachy dome (credit to sculptor John Wormald Appleyard), ornate proscenium arch and all the wonderful stained glass and tiles.
Performances continue in Sheffield (this week) and London (coming soon) and you can book tickets here.