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Just a couple of months since a visiting American company gave us every word of Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic 1925 novel in an eight hour marathon, home-grown Ruby in the Dust has slimmed it down to a mere couple of hours.

The musical includes a lavish sprinkling of songs added by composer and lyricist Joe Evans, which isn't strictly necessary but they give the hedonistic flapper era setting a lively kick and add a poignant wistfulness to idly rich and unhappily married Daisy Buchanan’s yearning for her first love.

With a minimal set, it’s left predominantly to the lovely costumes to conjure the lazy wealth of the society in which, for a brief period, her cousin Nick (a self-effacing Raphael Vernon) finds himself involved.

Party-going Lucille (Alyssa Noble, who’s also responsible for the choreography) has enough energy for a roomful of revellers, Sean Browne is appropriately unreadable as the enigmatic Gatsby and Peta Cornish brings a heart as well as cynicism to the role of Jordan Baker.

Matilda Sturridge’s Daisy has a plaintive catch to her voice and although there’s a certain sacrifice of subtlety in Linnie Readman’s production, the story, as ever, sucks you in to its tragic climax.
 
Kings Head Theatre, Upper Street, N1 1QN
Tube | Angel
Until 1st September
Tickets: £10- £22.50
kingsheadtheatre.com

 

Photo: Patrick Dodds
Pictured: Sean Browne (Gatsby) and Matilda Sturridge (Daisy)


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