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8th February 2020

Review: Party Like Gatsby

Theatre Editor Jay Darcy reviews Party Like Gatsby at O2 Ritz
Review: Party Like Gatsby
Photo: Dom Martin | | Instagram:

Party Like Gatsby was an event like no other.

A cross between a 2020s club night and a 1920s ball, it perfectly and seamlessly blended two very different decades that are a whole century apart.

The party included a piece of 1920s set, complete with an early 1900s telephone and old newspapers. There was a selfie light in front of the set so that partygoers could get some fantastic photos to remember the night.

Whilst Ana and I made an effort, most partygoers looked like they were straight out of The Great Gatsby, so we felt a little underdressed.

Photo: Dom Martin

Alexander Luttley, AKA Mercury, was the cabaret’s compère. He was witty, sassy and utterly fabulous. His singing was utterly fabulous. His costumes (and he had several) were all fabulous. He was just utterly fabulous.

The headlining act was the very talented mixed-gender group The Toons. They put a 1920s cabaret twist on some of the world’s biggest hits, including Beyonce’s Crazy in Love and Single Ladies.

The lead singer played the saxophone, which was most excellent during the iconic beat of Crazy in Love. She also had some whopping vocal chops, effortlessly recreating Christina Aguilera’s trademark shrieks.

A memorable moment came when Mercury stood on the balcony and performed a cute duet with the lead singer of The Toons.

The Twin Swing taught the audience how to charleston before performing an Egyptian-inspired charleston. They put the Tu in Tutankhamun. Contemporary flappers, they were both talented and entertaining, and their costumes were beautiful.

There was a husband and wife duo who performed some seriously scary knife tricks. She leaned on a board as he threw knives at her (marriage, y’know).

At one point, she held a massive sheet of paper in front of her, making the act even more dangerous. If this wasn’t impressive enough, when she dropped the sheet of paper and came striding forward, she had somehow managed to change outfits. Whilst holding up a sheet of paper as her husband threw knives at her! I was gobsmacked.

At another point, she was strapped to a circular board and spun around as her husband fired knives at the board, seemingly just missing her. The act was thrilling, to say the least.

The cabaret also included a bar fight dance, a juggler, and, for the first time, a pair of skaters. They were fantastic. They performed on a small, round platform; she latched her legs on top of his neck, and the pair spun around. At one point, he even let go of her arms, but she continued spinning. It was another thrilling act.

Jolie Papillo | Photo: Dominic Martin

The highlight of the night, though, had to be burlesque sensation Jolie Papillo. With over 20-thousand followers on Instagram, she has sure made a name for herself. She performed two acts, the second one being the penultimate performance, before the Toons closed the show.

The second performance took place in front of and inside of a giant martini glass. Jolie opened a bottle of champagne, drenching herself in it, before splashing around in the martini glass and squeezing an “olive” to shower herself with her bath water.

Now, I’ve seen (and reviewed) Dita Von Teese, perform live. Not just that – this show, The Art of the Teese, included her signature performance, which just so happens to also be in a martini glass. I suspect Jolie was inspired by that performance, and whilst Dita is the undisputed Queen of Burlesque, Jolie sure gave her a run (or dance) for her money.

Once the cabaret finished, a DJ played electro-swing and other 1920s-infused modern music. Whilst I can think of more glamorous venues than the O2 Ritz, the room was decorated nicely, with fairy lights and flowers. As the show came to a close, there were giant sparklers at each side of the stage and a load of confetti; it was an explosive end (literally) to a fantastically chaotic night.

My only issue is that there was no aerial dancer like there has been in previous years and has been used in promotional images; I was particularly looking forward to that. The organisers told me this is because the O2 Ritz does not have any rigging points strong enough for the weight of the act; next year, they hope to bring their own rig for a very special aerial number.

With tickets at around £30, Party Like Gatsby might not be the cheapest club night, party or cabaret, but that’s because it’s all three in one. Whilst it might also require you to splash some cash on a costume (though ball attire will do just fine), if you like the 20s and cabaret, you’ll love Party Like Gatsby.

Party Like Gatsby continues its world tour throughout 2020.

Jay Darcy

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. Email: [email protected].

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