Review The Great Gatsby:The Dolphin Pub, Theatr Clwyd, Mold by Rosie Anthony

 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

The Great Gatsby is an immersive performance that truly takes us back in time to the rip-roaring 1920s and is made exquisitely unique by taking place in the derelict Dolphin Pub, within Mold itself. From the moment you book your tickets at ‘Gatsby’s Drugstore’ you know you are in for a real treat.

Photo Credits Sam Taylor

Upon arrival, you are welcomed to the party and when you enter the venue, you feel as though you have stepped from the 2020s, over a magical threshold and back into the 1920s. Warmly greeted by music and the characters, who are already singing, playing the piano and coming round welcoming you to the party! Casually chatting, introducing themselves, all with a drink in hand and a smile on their face. This interaction was wonderful and I loved chatting with Carroway, George, even being offered to be looked after by Gatsby himself, during the interval. It was unique and thrilling, adding to the immersive element and making you feel as though you were surrounded by the story.

Theatr Clwyd invites you to the best roaring 1920s party ever and they are certainly not wrong! We are instantly immersed into another way of life and are taken on a journey that makes us pine for an era long gone. Seeing the forbidden love story between Daisy and Gatsby unfold, through the eyes of Carroway, there is plenty of fun, dancing and singing to be had. But behind the glitz and the glamour, we see that there are cracks and the problems that we experience today were the same then; cheating, lying, falling in love with the wrong person at the wrong time. The second half builds the tension and culminates in the dramatic conclusion that F. Scott Fitzgerald intended of his Great Gatsby tale.

The cast are simply magical, from Hammett, playing the most likeable Carroway I have ever seen, leading us through the story, introducing us to his cousin Daisy, played delightfully by Bethan Rose Young, her beguiling husband Tom (Troy Marcus Richards), the vivacious Ms Baker (played perfectly by Seren Vickers) and the charming Gatsby himself (Richard McIver’s captivating performance, hitting peak levels of suave).

Hammett is word perfect, despite his lengthy dialogue, and utterly delightful in the role, charming the audience, almost as much, but not quite, as Gatsby himself. McIver is sophistication itself, with his immaculate costumes, piercing eyes and facial expressions, and his interaction with Young. Together, they are mesmerising as Gatsby and Daisy, their delightful chemistry perfecting the romance that we all yearn for. Making it all the moreheart-breaking when Gatsby is revealed to have told a few untruths of his own. Young does not just play Daisy, she is Daisy, delivering her lines in the most achingly beautiful and emotive manner, my heart almost shattered when she uttered ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool’. A special mention too for Bevan and Blainey, who play husband and wife, George and Myrtle, who are key characters in the story. They are a constant and hold the link between the audience and the rest of the cast perfectly, whilst singing, dancing and playing the piano delightfully. Each and every one of the cast gave their all and embodied their characters, increasing the intensity of the immersive nature of the evening.

The set is simple, the derelict pub is obviously, well derelict, with its exposed brick, however, it is dressed up and completely altered, very cleverly, with drapes, a couple of pianos and superb lighting. It is instantly believable that you are in a dance hall one minute, the boudoir the next, or helping Daisy make life changing decisions in her bedroom the moment after.
Whilst the action takes place over three floors, there is no obligation and accessibility is kept in mind throughout, with no fixed seating, but chairs dotted around and theatre staff on hand to assist. There are also performances to choose from that are signed and audio described, along with touch tours. There is no need to be nervous of the interaction, it was a perfect balance of being involved, but not putting anyone into an uncomfortable situation.

1920 dress code is encouraged, but not a must, pop on your pearls and dancing shoes, grab a prohibition cocktail from the bar and be ready to meet the Great Mr Gatsby himself and have a sublime evening, one that will stay with you for a very long time to come. The most refreshing and fun theatre performance I’ve witnessed (and been part of!) and I left feeling like I had truly experienced one of Gatsby’s decadent and extravagant parties!

The Dolphin Pub, Mold

Wed 28 Jun – Sun 27 Aug 2023

Director: Amie Burns Walker
Associate Director: Fiona Kingwill
Set and Costume Designer: Heledd Rees
Assistant Director: Juliette Manon
Choreographer: Holly Beasley-Garrigan
Casting Director: Polly Jerrold
Musical Director – Alex Wingfield
Accent and Dialect Coach: Mary Howland
Lighting Designer: Rachel Sampley
Safeguarding, Inclusion and Consent Consultant: Bayley Turner
Sound Designer: Phil Grainger
Wigs, Hair and Make up: Noah Ehrhardt
Fight Director: Lucky 13 Action
Cast: Siobhan Bevan – Myrtle
Huw Blainey – George
Jack Hammett – Nick
Richard McIver – Gatsby
Troy Marcus Richards – Tom
Seren Vickers – Jordan
Bethan Rose Young – Daisy

Running time: Approximately 2 hours and 30 mins (including 10-15 minute interval).

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