Entertainment | Immersive Theatre Review: The Great Gatsby by The Guild of Misrule at Theatre Deli, Sheffield

It's the roaring 1920s - an era of bootleg liquor, red hot jazz and some of the most swinging parties in town. Created across Theatre Deli's labyrinthine building on The Moor, step into a heart-racing adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's seminal jazz-age story.The cocktails will be flowing, the music will be loud, one of Jay Gatsby's infamous parties is in full swing.The Guild and Theatre Deli have created a night out like no other. Over two and a half hours you will dance, chase and infiltrate your way through one of the greatest stories of the twentieth century. Come and join the party.

On Friday, I attended an immersive theatre performance at The Moor Theatre Delicatessen in Sheffield. As I'd never seen any immersive theatre before, I was unsure of what to expect, but came away hugely impressed at how my favourite novel, The Great Gatsby, had undergone such a creative transformation. Writing this post, I was tempted to talk in detail about all my favourite parts of the show, and take a very descriptive approach to my review. But that would hugely spoil it for anyone yet to see it (and I highly recommend you do see it) as the show is a lot of fun if certain elements of it remain as mysterious as Gatsby himself.

Whilst the idea of interactive theatre could strike fear into many a heart, the cast were brilliant at creating an atmosphere where everyone felt at ease, and the format allowed people to be as much a part of the show as they wanted to be - with some of my friends hanging back and watching from afar and one friend of mine in particular creating an entire character for himself and even building up a rapport with Nick. I also think Tom's character especially was brilliantly cast and handled very well, as he wasn't so gruff and unfriendly (like he is in the film) as to alienate audience members, but he still managed to keep the snooty and unpleasant air of his character about him.

At certain points, the audience members split off into separate groups and followed different characters through different parts of the story. This was particularly fun with a group of friends if you were separated, making for conversations along the lines of "you missed a really good bit"; "no, you missed a really good bit!" Although it could make things puzzling for anyone who didn't know the story beforehand, the intent of this show was never a to-the-letter telling of the story, but instead a re-imagining of a classic tale. However, a lack of prior knowledge of the story certainly isn't a reason to avoid the show. Entering the theatre blindly, one perhaps becomes a true West Egg party-goer, attending Gatsby's parties but knowing very little of the man beyond rumours. One can then see perhaps not the entire story unfold, but enough of it to create one's own idea of the story, with a focus on some characters more than others.

Overall, the Guild of Misrule team created a really fun night out, gorgeously transforming Sheffield's abandoned Woolworths building into a 1920s' New York setting, and putting together a show full of brilliantly improvised acting, music and dancing. Whether you've read The Great Gatsby so much you're fed up with it, or you know nothing about it, I certainly urge you to take a plunge into this immersive theatre production for a brand new look at F. Scott Fitzgerald's wonderful story.

The Great Gatsby is currently playing at Theatre Delicatessen in Sheffield until the end of December, and York Theatre Royal until 7th January. Following this, it plays at Vault Festival from late January to early March.

Have you ever seen an immersive theatre show? Let me know in the comments! :)

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