Sunday, March 20, 2022



Jay Peardon as Jay Gatsby - Ryan Hodson as Nick Carroway in "The Great Gatsby"

Written and produced by Aaron Robuck – Executive  Producer: Aden Levin.

Directed by Beth Daly - Designed by Brendan de la Hay

Wonderland Bar, Bayswater Road, Potts Point until 26th June 2022.

Performance on 20th February reviewed by Bill Stephens.

It’s not every day a reviewer is invited to review a show in a brothel. Well, to be accurate, a former brothel. However, now re-purposed as Wonderland Bar, this handsome heritage mansion, lavishly tarted-up by designer, Brendan de la Hay provides the perfect environment for this intriguing production of “The Great Gatsby” which offers an immersive experience that doesn’t depend on technology.

Limited in number to 40 patrons, the audience is invited to dress in the period of the play. On arrival each is offered a complimentary glass of champagne before being ushered into a series of rooms, spread over the three storeys of the mansion, where they become voyeurs to the interactions of the actors.

For Aaron Robuck's clever adaptation of the familiar F.Scott Fitzgerald story, the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby is played by recent WAAPA graduate Jay Peardon. Tall and handsome, Peardon has a striking presence and confident air of sophistication which makes him perfect casting for this role.

Ryan Hodson plays Nick Carroway, the naïve young visitor from Minnesota whose unconventional friendship with Gatsby forms the nucleus of the story.  Hodson, who as Carroway also narrates the story, manages to achieve an appealing balance between naivety and curiosity for his character as he observes the decadent behaviour of the hangers-on with whom Gatsby surrounds himself, as he too becomes inexorably drawn into their shenanigans.

Jessica Redmayne as Daisy Buchanan - Jay Peardon as Jay Gatsby in "The Great Gatsby"

Jessica Redmayne is also charismatic as Carraway’s mysterious cousin Daisy Buchanan, who’s in love with Gatsby but married to the controlling and immensely wealthy Tom Buchanan, played with a louche charm by Joshua Ralph McElroy

Among the coterie of friends who surround Gatsby, Hannah Raven is a stand-out as the sophisticated 1920’s new woman and competitive golfer Jordan Baker. Alicia Rose Quinn is also memorable as Tom Buchanan’s lover and flamboyant burlesque performer, Myrtle Wilson, who enlivens one of the parties with a spectacular strip routine performed in front of a giant mirror.

Various other characters, including entertainers at the parties, are performed with panache by Adam Di Martino, Kristina McNamara, Cody Ross and Sebastian Nelson.

Hanna Raven - Ryan Hodson -Joshua Ralph McElroy - Jay Peardon in "The Great Gatsby"

What separates this production from usual restaurant concepts is that the actors take their roles seriously so that it is possible to get caught up in the story. All admirably maintain concentration, despite the close proximity of the audience, only occasionally interacting in character with the audience as a fellow guest at one of the parties, or perhaps gently requesting someone to vacate one of  the impressive velvet lounges or antique furniture props they may have inadvertently occupied when it is needed for the performance.  Otherwise audience participation is minimal and discreet.

Production values are excellent, as is the direction and the performances, making “The Great Gatsby” highly recommended for anyone interested in experiencing a unique, unusual and highly enjoyable theatrical experience.  

The Cast of "The Great Gatsby"


                                             All images by Aaron Lyon iota Media.

    This review also published in AUSTRALIAN ARTS REVIEW.