I’m George Walker for WFIU Arts
The Cardinal Stage Company’s The Great Gatsby is a richly rewarding evening at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center. The Company’s producing artistic director Kate Galvin offers a tightly creative show of Simon Levy’s skillful adaptation. Tom Slater’s choreography sets just the right period tone and Andrew Hopson’s sound design does a lovely job of offering just the right sounds at the right times in the evening.
F.Scott Fitzgerald and his characters have trouble with women. In life, it was the gifted and mentally challenged Zelda. In the story, with the mild mannered George Wilson it’s his wife philandering Myrtle. With Gatsy it’s Daisy, the woman who couldn’t wait for him and married Tom Buchanan. With our narrator Nick it’s Jordan Baker, the golf pro who’s not above moving a ball.
Liam Castellan was very good as the downtrodden George and, also with a beret and more élan as the conniving artist Mr. McKee. Maggie Lynn Held was appropriately trashy as the wife who spends her afternoons in Tom Buchanan’s apartment.
Trevor Lyon’s Tom was a successful college football player, owns a string of polo ponies and is so confident in his sexuality that he’s been cheating on Daisy since their honeymoon. Trevor filled the character nicely.
Michael Bayler is both at the center and curiously at the side as Jay Gatsby. He early befriends our narrator Nick, lies to him, enlists his help to liaison with Daisy and eventually even tells him the truth. It’s Gatsby who says that the past can be recreated and though Nick knows it can’t he still admires the man for his dream.
Courtney Lucien is always the center of our and her attention as she plays Daisy. She’s a strangely floating character who only occasionally alights. Her Daisy’s an alluring figure and at the same time the sort who with no special will or skill simply breaks things.
Jay Hemphill as Nick Carraway in both the book and the play is our guide from the Midwest into the East of the 1920s. It’s Hemphill who appears as a character in the drama and then as the play moves toward its conclusion speaks directly to us. He’s a bit of an innocent always a little outside. Although thrown together with Maria Argentina Souza as Jordan, his own honesty breaks it up.
Kristen Martino’s scenic design offers a wide stage with just a few carefully placed props to set the scenes. Jason Orlenko is responsible for the colorful period costumes . Laura Glover directs the effective lighting.
The Cardinal Stage Company’s production of The Great Gatsby, a potently dramatic vision of the somehow empty roar of the 20s, is at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center continues through September 22nd. You can find this review and an interview with the actors who play Gatsby and Daisy on our web site at wfiu.org/arts
At the theatre for you, I’m George Walker