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Review: Gatsby at the Green Light at The Studio, Sydney Opera House

Review by Carly Fisher

There’s something about the Gatsby story that ensures that the myth, the class, the sex appeal and the overall legend of the story withstands the tests of time. It is therefore no surprise that the latest ‘Gatsby’ offering to Sydney, Gatsby at the Green Light, currently performing at The Studio theatre in the Opera House, is an instant treat. 

Paying homage to the traditional cabaret layout, the theatre has had a complete transformation with floor seating and tables and chairs for those keen for the VIP experience, and theatre seating lining the room. Treated to snacks, cocktails and a delicious dessert, it matters little whether or not the view is the best from the table seating (it’s not) because you are so instantly enthralled by the experience as a whole. A real credit to the creative team, namely designer Stuart Couzens, from the moment you enter the space, the vibe leaves you transported. 

The cast is essentially broken down into the aerialists and lead dancers/singers, and the ensemble of dancers. You’ll recognise the ensemble of dancers on stage instantly…they served you cocktails and snacks a moment ago! Every member of the cast was highly skilled but the ensemble of dancers for me, took the cake. A couple bars into the opening dance number, the style felt very familiar and after a few dance numbers, I could not help but revert to my program to see who was behind it. Many in Sydney’s dance and theatre scenes will be familiar with owner and creative director of Brent Street, Lucas Newland, and his hard-hitting commercial jazz style. As lead choreographer, alongside the exceptionally talented Cassie Bartho as resident choreographer, these two brought this show to life, taking what would otherwise be a spiegeltent show to an artistic level worthy of its place in the belly of the Opera House. 

The complexity of commercial dance like this can be underestimated because of the audience’s overexposure to it in the wider media landscape but this art form is tricky, it requires enormous amounts of training mixed with natural talent and it calls on drill style commitment to timing and sharpness. Each of the dancers delivered in spades.

Flying high above the dancers, the talented team of aerialists and soloists, with aerial choreography by Jo Coterill, left the audience consistently gasping. I loved the choice of aerial props - particularly the lamp post which just oozed Gatsby appeal - and the puppet style ropes which allowed for a truly unique performance, the likes of which I have not seen up on aerials. Clearly, the team spent great effort and time scouring the globe for the right talent for this performance and the result is clear. 

The narrative gets lost amidst the tricks, the dance and the choreography but it matters little. It’s easy enough to follow the basic concept of Gatsby - a man who loves the high life but feels lonely despite the riches - and that’s enough of the story to get you through. I mention this to say that this is the perfect show for those who want a night of spectacle, something to jazz up your summer evenings on the way to or from dinner, after work or on a saucy night out this Christmas and through the next few months. 

Odette’s musical stylings are an unquestionable highlight through the show and as lead vocalist throughout, its amazing to watch the variety in genres that Odette navigates through to deliver the vocal performance that we enjoy. 

I wouldn’t say that I’ve never ‘seen anything like this before.’ It’s a tried and tested method and though I’ve seen it before, its quality entertainment and this show lived up to the hype of the Gatsby legend. Variety shows like this are a wonderful way to get a taste of cirque, burlesque and vocals, and in this instance, the very welcomed addition of dance. This is a quality night of entertainment that will leave you spellbound and wanting more of the Gatsby mystique. 

Image Credit: Prudence Upton


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