The Hillsboro Argus LOVES to Hate our production of Simon Levy’s The Great Gatsby…and that is a good thing! Read the review online here or below!
“The Great Gatsby” is everything a soap opera should be, but without the soap to wash away the residue of the tragic story line.
Forty years before “As the World Turns” or “Edge of Night” had fans flocking around their tiny black and white television screens, “The Great Gatsby” hit the Broadway stage to set the bar for both the improbable and entertaining stories that are the staple of their voyeuristic look into American life. It was not an immediate success, either as a novel or stage production.
Some things simply take time to come of age, as it has in the current production atBag&Baggage in Hillsboro.
Rather than the glitz and glam of a Hollywood production, B&B relies on a relatively minimalist approach, in order to allow the performers to dominate the stage.
And dominate, they do.
Performers are tasked with portraying the lives of shallow, self-centered, morally-bankrupt characters whose lives center upon them making themselves feel better about themselves.
But then there is Nick Carraway, whose only sin is simply wanting to be just like the rest of them. He’s played by Ian Armstrong, masterfully portraying the mild mannered outsider who serves as our window to the decadence on stage, and the only character who truly evolves during the performance.
Ty Boice plays the title character, the somewhat-likeable, somewhat-smarmy, man of mystery who invades the community of friends to reclaim his lost treasure, the beautiful, vapid, Daisy Buchanan. The fact that Daisy is already married, and a mother, never figures into the equation. For either of them.
Cassie Greer gives Daisy the type of performance the character deserves, with her sugary voice, liquid moves, sexy charm and complete lack of a moral compass.
The story is uncomfortable, and the more you think about it, the more uncomfortable it becomes. Written in the 1920s, it illustrates how little some segments of society have progressed, and leaves one wondering what is at the root of our fascination over movie stars, seedy politicians and corporate executives who put themselves above all others.
“It was a great performance,” my wife observed as we left the final dress rehearsal. “I hated it.”
— Jerry F. Boone Special to the Argus