Last Gatsby

The final Gatsby in London. If you put Gatsby’s Mansion into Google maps it brings up the venue. It has been running for years, starting in The Fleeting Arms pub in York where one December, Jack and I saw the first ever tester show however many years ago. From there to the Vaults, to Colab Factory, to Mold, back to York and constant in London, moving to this new building near Bond Street. The end of an era now and I’m glad I’ll be there to see it off. There’s a grand piano that came from The Player’s Theatre, previously property of Dominic le Foe, now used to bang out “Ain’t We Got Fun”. Every actor brings something different to the show and the next company collate it and develop it further. There are things that I’ve watched grow and grow over time. I’m very fond of this show. I’ve carried props in and out for it, Tristan worked the bar forever, sometimes in early stages I was working character security, on the door or waiting downstairs for a code word in case a coked up audience member started getting too handsy with one of the actors. Most of the furniture has been in the back of a van driven by me at some point or other, including the wonderful piano.

All good things must come to an end, the venue is about to be turned into more luxury flats, and the piano, the bird, the gong and the other bits are off in a shipping container to New York where the show is about to cross pollinate and start a whole new life with slightly less suspicious American accents. Joy.

I’m about to go in and support their final London night. There’ll be booze after, so I’m thinking of driving in for self protection. But i figured I would get half of this written now in case I grow baffled and sloshy. There are some good friends who will be there this evening, and a sense of history. It’s been a long time and a long journey from that scratch show in freezing York. And there’s nothing like a bit of Charleston to brighten up a January evening, despite the warning of the “stay at home” moon.

I went. It was emotional. I pulled myself out of the party sober and drove home. I left my coat with my flat keys in it in the cloakroom. Damn you, party, pulling me back when I least expected it. I’m driving back though. Not dumb enough to get an Uber and end up dancing until 5am.

So many of the old company there though. Friends from over years. Beautiful people. Clever people. Creative people. I’m happy to have caught the last one on British soil for now. Seven years!! It’s a long long time.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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