Theatre Review

Great ‘Great Gatsby’ at Burbage

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I suffered through “The Great Gatsby” in American Literature class. I further suffered through the movie, even though it was shot in Newport.

Will Burbage Theatre Co. be strike three with their adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, adapted by Simon Levy?

To the contrary, Burbage hits a home run in bringing the novel to their stage under the creative, competent direction of Wendy Overly.

Gatsby is the first play in Burbage’s new home in Pawtucket, working in partnership with TEN31 Productions at their larger space at 249 Roosevelt Ave., over the river and around the corner from Gamm’s current space.

Overly wisely chose Trevor Elliot to do the set and production design with Andrew Iacovelli, creating through the movement of a few doors, two Long Island mansions.

Daisy (Shannon Hartman) and Tom (Patrick Keefe) Buchanan live in one mansion, while a mysterious stranger who calls himself Jay Gatsby (Jeff Church) has moved in directly across the river from them. Daisy’s cousin, Nick Carraway (Dillon Medina) serves as narrator and one of the main characters, a young man who is still searching for his fortune and his place in life. Gatsby befriends and then uses him in his quest to rekindle an old flame with Daisy, who is susceptible, thanks to the way she has been treated by her philandering husband who has been taking up with the caretaker’s wife.

“The Great Gatsby” has been described as a Jazz Age novel, weaving a tale of the glamorous life of the wealthy and decadent class. The story covers unrequited love and is filled with conflict and tragedy. By today’s standards, it is a bit like a Hollywood soap opera.

Overly has taken the basics of the story and added music, dance, humor, gorgeous costumes by Abby Dufresne and some sweet clarinet background music by Vince Petronio. The result is a fast-paced, tense, entertaining two hours of theatre. Burbage’s new space offers opportunities for this cutting-edge theatre company to expand its repertoire in a theatre space that offers many opportunities.

“The Great Gatsby” is at Burbage Theatre Co., 249 Roosevelt Ave., Pawtucket, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances through December 17. General admission is $25, with student and senior tickets for $15. RIC students get in for $10. Call 484-0355 or email info@burbagetheatre.org for tickets.

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