Magazine article The Spectator

Bum Deal

Magazine article The Spectator

Bum Deal

Article excerpt

Wilton's, the crumbly music hall in London's East End, has been dressed up as a crumbly Prohibition-era speakea sy. And a good job they 've done of it, what with the bootlegger type s in the foyer, foxt rot ter s on the upstairs landing, and an Irish giant who u sher s u s into a side chapel where his friend's corpse is laid out (i s that norma l in speakea sie s ? ).

The G rea t Ga t sby, adapted by Peter Joucla , i s on, too (unt i l 19 May). But this feels like something o f a pretext . The speakea sy theme spills into the auditorium and even on stage , in the form o f - you've been wa rned - aud ience pa r t icipat ion . To be fa i r, there i s a l ink w ith the plot : one o f the rumours surrounding Jay Gatsby is that his vast wealth comes from liquor smuggling. In the novel, though, this is a faint underworld odour hovering above the dazzle of Gatsby's Long Island house parties;

while here any glamour is forced to crouch uneasily behind the foreg round seed ine s s - a touch o f pink in the pleated backcloth, the odd boater, Gat sby 's cream su it . …

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