Monday 25 September 2017

'We have code words if crowd gets rowdy' - Great Gatsby actress ahead of 'immersive' Gate Theatre show

The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The cast of the Gate Theatre's production of The Great Gatsby has been given safety words in case theatregoers become too rowdy during the new "immersive production".

The theatre has been transformed into Jay Gatsby's 1920s mansion, with all the seats removed from the auditorium to create a ballroom area - and audience members will learn the Charleston.

Three separate bars serving whiskey, gin and Champagne will remain open during the show and theatregoers are encouraged to enjoy a tipple.

Ripper Street actress Charlene McKenna, who plays the part of Daisy Buchanan, says the actors have been given precautionary "code words" if audience members become disruptive.

The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby

"We've got code words which will get people kicked out," she told the Herald. "So there are a lot of preventative measures in place."

It's not the first time crew at the Gate have had to take precautions when it comes to disruptive patrons.

During the 1999 production of A Streetcar Named Desire, one lady screamed at the stage for Blanche - played by Fargo star Frances McDormand - to stick a broken bottle in the face of Stan (Liam Cunningham).

The Gate's then-artistic director Michael Colgan had to lift the woman out of her seat and eject her from the theatre.

Charlene said she would prefer audience members to be boisterous rather than boring.

"I would stress to people to read the small print, so they know what they're coming to, and don't expect to be sitting watching a play," she said.

The show, which opens tonight, is the first production of new Gate director Selina Cartmell, and is predicted to be a critical and commercial hit.


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