Ballet News Reviews | Northern Ballet’s The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
Sadlers Wells, London
14th May 2013
The Great Gatsby isn’t, at first sight, a story that lends itself easily to ballet. The complex characters make it difficult to get the whole story over to an audience with no words. However, the dancers of Northern Ballet do know how to tell (and sell) a story, and for this reason it works for them. You will need to have read the book or at least the synopsis in the programme beforehand to keep up with the plot, but it’s pacy and packs a punch (literally, for Kenneth Tindall who dances Tom, Daisy’s husband).
There are lots of surprises along the way, with some unique devices to move the story along and clean, sleek sets that add to the atmosphere. And atmosphere is what this production has in spades; even the shadows seem alive.
The costumes are delicious with the exception of Myrtle’s orange dress which did nothing for dancer Victoria Sibson and stuck out like a sore thumb from the other confections. They are shown off to great effect in the party scenes which looked great fun; all the dancers were having a ball and who wasn’t dancing along in their seat ? Hannah Bateman, as Daisy’s best friend Jordan, especially seemed at home with the style, revelling in the music. The music is a surprising mix of styles – including actual singing – but it acts as an efficient vehicle to move the story along whilst retaining the all-important tension and drama.
Ben Mitchell danced superbly, albeit mostly with a tyre, as Myrtle’s husband George Wilson, and there was excellent dancing from the whole cast. Charleston moments were on pointe and in keeping with the ballet, and a lot of work has gone into perfecting the 1920’s style without compromising the essence of ballet.
Martha Leebolt and Tobias Batley command the central roles of Daisy and Gatsby, with pas de deux’s filled with the shadows of longing. These two have been dancing together so long they anticipate each other intuitively, making them eminently watchable.
And the moral of the story ? You can sit on the dock of the bay and dream, but be careful what you wish for.
The Great Gatsby is in rep until 18th May