Writer: F Scott Fitzgerald
Directors: Harriet Braine and Noah Tomson
Reviewer: Danielle Shields
Theatre Paradok is their name and paradox is exactly what you should expect from this company as, proving from their past performances at the Fringe including last year’sA Note of Dischord, they enjoy adapting everything that is remotely bizarre. This year is no exception where they have taken on F Scott Fitzgerald’s novellaThe Diamond as Big as the Ritzin the less enticingly namedThe Really Big Diamond.
Ambitious John T. Unger (John Bruce) meets a strange wealthy fellow Percy Washington (Esmond Sage) at his new private boarding school. Washington invites Unger to spend the summer at his home in the Montana mountains alongside his family. Only when he arrives does Unger discovers that the Washington’s are far wealthier and stranger than he originally presumed.
This outrageous reference to the American dream could only have come from the mind of glamour obsessed Fitzgerald, yet it is a difficult story to connect with audiences especially on stage. The leaving home musical number in the opening offers promise as it shows the talent of the actors, however it also gives us an idea of the insincere characters to follow. It is the vile nature of these characters which ultimately distances us to the tale and it comes to resembleThe Stepford Wiveswithout the relatable Joanna Eberhart.
A lot has been put into the performance. The cast are dignified in their rôles – albeit the singing is a little off at times – and the costumes are pleasing to the eye. There is even a harp whisked onto the stage to create a mini orchestra. All of these aspects suggest elegance, but not even the score is romantic as everything is shared with a mocking tone.
With a rushed production and unappealing charactersThe Really Big Diamondis a really unlikeable watch.
Runs until Sat 23rdAug