The King’s Town Players present The Great Gatsby

Play brings 1920s era prohibition and classic romance to the Limestone City

Andy Pesz (left) and Susan Del-Mai (right) in The Great Gatsby.
Credit: 
Supplied by Steve Vanvolkingburgh

In their debut performance of The Great Gatsby at the Domino Theatre on March 27, the King’s Town players took the audience back to prohibition, flapper glamour, and the roaring twenties. 

For fans of Scott F. Fitzgerald’s novel, and every subsequent Gatsby movie ever made, The King’s Town Players’ production didn’t disappoint. 

The Players kept their show close to the original storyline, taking hardly any creative leniencies. It felt like re-watching a movie you’d already seen many times.

While not an overwhelming performance, the show was thoroughly enjoyable and well done. 

Similarly, the costume design, by Esme Purdy and Whitney Purdy, competently showed the characters’ depth. Tom Abram, playing narrator Nick Caraway, was dressed simply in a pair of pleated dress pants and a sport jacket.  

As the novel’s narrator, he’s the only character with any moral footing, and his simple clothes played him as an everyman. In that role, Abram was convincing as the uptight, straight-laced Caraway. Even his posture was impeccable. 

The contrast between Caraway’s costume and the other richer characters’ clothes draws attention to the deeper differences between the two—like the way the Buchanans prioritize wealthy and extravagance, while Caraway is comfortable with his small cottage and low wage. 

Jay Gatsby, played by Andy Pesz, and Tom Buchanan, played by Matt Salton, were dressed in finer dress shirts and expensive looking shoes. 

Daisy, played by Susan Del-Mei, wore pearl necklaces and long satin dresses. Del-Mei playing Daisy was giddy and giggly through the entire play. She spoke in a high register, giving her character an iconic girlish carefree charm.  

A strong ensemble, the actors solidly kept to their characters’ original design throughout the play—with only a couple mumbled lines.  

Pesz as Jay Gatsby was stoic and suave, drawing on the literary character’s debonair description. His arrow-collared dress shirts and expensive looking home adds to this elitism. 

Before Gatsby’s introduction, we see him standing on a balcony prop at stage left, silently staring into the distance. A green light shines on him, referencing the famous signal at the end of his beloved Daisy’s dock—the direction he stares every night as he pines for her. 

During scene changes, Abram stepped centre stage into a single spotlight to address the audience and give insight into his character’s thoughts.

In these moments, he let the audience know how he felt about the other characters. He called Daisy and Tom “careless people,” adding to their elite superiority and selfishness that has persisted throughout the play. 

The actor’s depictions of their characters kept close to their description in the novel. Many aspects of the play were in keeping with Fitzgerald’s original words. The King’s Town Players were committed to representing the famous romantic drama as accurately as possible. While some scenes posed logistical barriers—like the car crash scene that kills Myrtle, Tom’s girlfriend—the Players made do with what they had. 

Heather Hayhow playing Myrtle, stood centre stage, waving down an imaginary car in the direction of the audience, then the lighting dimmed and the sound technician cued a car screech and thudding noise—Myrtle fell to the ground, dead. 

The moment suggested the audience was the one behind the wheel. 

The tone carried to the last lines of the play, read out by Abram as Caraway in a somber tone. 

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past,” says Abram in his single spotlight. As soon as he finishes speaking, the light fades and he steps backwards into the dark. 

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