Cressida Bonas Dazzles In Gatsby

Gatsby, Leicester Square Theatre ★★★★☆

By Tiffany Pritchard Last edited 90 months ago

Last Updated 17 December 2016

Cressida Bonas Dazzles In Gatsby Gatsby, Leicester Square Theatre 4
Cressida Bonas and cast in Gatsby. (c) Nobby Clark/ ArenaPAL.

Tucked away in Leicester Square Theatre's tiny, unassuming stage space is an easy-to-watch, entertaining new adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Cressida Bonas (she dated some prince apparently), is lead character Daisy, and surprisingly, she's very good.

Following on from Baz Luhrmann's 2013 big screen adaptation, Linnie Reedman puts her own spin on the classic novel with a two-hour all-singing-and-dancing affair set two years after F Scott Fitzgerald's book ends.

While audience members sip cocktails around dining tables in an immersive 1920s speakeasy called Luna Park, a mysterious young woman steps onto the intimate stage asking the owner and former business associate to Jay Gatsby, Meyer Wolfshiem, where the millionaire now resides.

Flashbacks conjure up the events leading to the end of Fitzgerald's story, showcasing the glamour, the excess and the disparate love that ultimately leads the characters to a tragic demise.

The set is simple, yet effective with Dom Warwick's lighting appropriately moody and atmospheric, and choreographer Penelope Simons' sharp, quick-stepped dance numbers proving fun and fanciful.  

Cressida Bonas (Daisy) and Ludovic Hughes (Gatsby) in Gatsby. (c) Nobby Clark/ ArenaPAL.

Bonas and newcomer Ludovic Hughes (Gatsby) have substantial chemistry, while Bradley Clarkson who plays both Wolfshiem and Tom Buchanon (husband to Daisy) purports a plausible dose of divisive bullishness and swagger. Ellen Francis is equally sound as the feisty and alluring Jordan Baker, friend to Daisy.

On the downside, several of the actors take on different characters, which at times can be confusing — you must stay alert.

Guests are rewarded at the end, with an invitation to continue taking in the spirit of the prohibition era with refreshments in Luna Park's drinking den.  

Ellen Francis (Jordan Baker) in Gatsby. (c) Nobby Clark/ ArenaPAL.

Gatsby continues at the Leicester Square Theatre until 15 January. Tickets are £20-£32. Londonist attended on a complimentary press ticket.