What would Noel think?
The shortest thing about the staged reading of The Great Gatsby is the name – GATZ. But it’s not just the length of the show that has got critics channelling some opinion. According to them, Noel Coward would be struck by a few conflicting thoughts…
Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph
What, you can’t help thinking, would Noel Coward, master of swift, succinct comedies, make of such a laborious-sounding proposition landing at the venue named in his honour? Actually, I dare venture that Coward would have been mighty taken with this jaunty, jazzily experimental marathon, much lauded since it trialled seven years ago. The company comes to excavate The Great Gatsby not to bury it in pretension. Their version has considerable wit, a consequence of Fitzgerald’s epigrammatic style and the constantly inventive input of director John Collins and his cast. It glories in the power of theatre, as Coward did. And it also seems custom-built to withstand – and win over – the coolest English scepticism.
Libby Purves in The Times
Noël would [also] be unlikely to ask an audience for eight hours of concentration on one set representing a gloomy, rundown office. He would certainly frown at certain passages of ultra-natural, head-down reading from the book by the narrator, some of which can hardly have been audible in the back circle. His ghost sometimes mutters “Very flat, Long Island . . .” But he might be won by the eccentric playfulness of ERS, and anyone can honour their passion for refusing to lose a word of the evocative prose.
Read all reviews for GATZ.