GATZ (REDCAT): 91% – SWEET

Elevator Repair Services and REDCAT presents “Gatz” at REDCAT. Credit: Steven Gunther.

SWEET
Theatre like this arrives once in a blue moon, and you don’t want to miss a word-for-word of it.
Tony Frankel – Stage and Cinema

SWEET
In its simultaneous devotion to Fitzgerald’s text and ingenious expansion upon it, “Gatz” looks forward to an entirely new American theatrical form. It is quite simply not to be missed. Good luck snagging tickets.
David C. Nichols – Backstage

SWEET
GATZ is a unique, all day theatrical experience, deeply rooted in a celebration of the language of The Great Gatsby, and all books. It is a poignant reminder of the power of the written word, and the joys of immersing oneself in a world conjured by the mind as illustrated by an author.
Howie Cohen – Thomas Hampton Reviews

BITTERSWEET
Restoring Carraway’s omniscience and foregoing plot beats allows the piece to become stageworthy. Perhaps the pretentious and clumsy gambits help allow the muskiness to clear so as they gradually recede over the course of the day’s performance, the purity of the narrative emerges more credibly, though this viewer remains skeptical.
Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

SWEET
Few artistic creations are as thrilling as those that emerge when a person or ensemble takes a huge risk, and succeeds brilliantly. Such is the case with Gatz, the celebrated adaptation of The Great Gatsby by the New York-based experimental theater company Elevator Repair Service.
Tom Jacobs – Santa Barbara Independent

SWEET
Fortunately, Fitzgerald’s writing never fails to remunerate readers with its unsurpassed style and penetrating insights into the American character. The vision may be unflattering, but there’s something consoling about the way Nick confides his truth to us. And in their herculean appreciation of an extraordinary book, Shepherd and the rest of the ensemble increase our own gratitude to the author.
Charles McNulty – LA Times

SWEET
The result is nothing less than theatrical genius.
Robert Machray – Stagehappenings

SWEET
The combination of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s sinuous prose and clever staging help turn the marathon reading of “The Great Gatsby” into a memorable theatrical event.
Willard Manus – Total Theater

SWEET
And in Gatz, Elevator Repair Service’s production of The Great Gatsby, actor Scott Shepherd, in the role of first-person narrator Nick Carraway, expertly walks it for over six hours.
Sharon Perlmutter – Talkin’ Broadway

SWEET
Director John Collins has created a spellbinding epic, writ small, which mirrors the process of reading the quintessential American novel. An unforgettable experience awaits viewers who apply concentration, discipline, and patience. The restrained warmth and the unforced focus of Scott Shepard, the central figure in the cast of 13, keeps us moving steadily forward to The End.
John Magaril – CurtainUp

SWEET
There was a ten-minute window when this spectator, buzzed and disoriented, melded with the cast and we were all one; it went beyond immersion theater, it was frightening and brilliant, it was a wild, careening journey and just fantastic.
Debra Levine – Arts Meme

SWEET
Yet John Collins’ epic staging is ultimately magnificent.
Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly

SWEET
It’s engrossing, subtle and riveting. A theatrical performance that consists of the reading and acting out of an entire novel over the course of a single day, Gatz, by New York City’s experimental theater ensemble Elevator Repair Service (ERS) is a unique and rewarding experience – both literary and theatrical.
Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

BITTERSWEET
The ensemble is terrific, the direction provides some amazing set pieces, and it left me with a new appreciation of the novel. Which is why it genuinely pains me to say that as much as I wanted to, I liked but didn’t love it.
Terry Morgan – LAist

SWEET
It’s glorious! Give yourself an early present and spend a whole day with a great story beautifully told.
Anthony Byrnes – KCRW

SWEET
It’s a prodigious theatrical feat, full of amusing acting turns and self-conscious directorial moments, but Gatz is finally most interesting and, yes, important, for the insight it provides into Fitzgerald’s text.
Bob Verini – ArtsInLA

SWEET
Experiencing New York theatre company Elevator Repair Service’s production of “Gatz,” a fully staged production of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” is transformative.
Sarah A. Spitz – Santa Monica Daily Press

SWEET
Shepherd and the cast occasionally “act out” the words of The Great Gatsby, but the crux of it is the word for word text read by Shepherd. It’s a good choice, since the narrator’s voice- the author’s voice—is where a lot of the wit and wisdom of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s prose lives. In fact, the dialogue- little as there is a mostly a vapid, shortened, bland string of words…even with the silver tones of the actor on stage. It is the actions, the eye movement and the often preposterous staging that enlivens the “script” and points out moments of humor, irony or sarcasm from Fitzgerald.
Kelly Hargraves – EyeSpyLA

BITTERSWEET
I never imagined seeing a theatre piece where the words were the end all and be all and adhered to verbatim. Yet, with GATZ the words were just this. So, when does the text allow for exploration by the actors and when does it cross that fine line of expression and becomes exploitive of the original text rather than expressive? This was the main flaw with this production. Was it interpreting the text or merely mocking it?
Melissa Berry – LA Examiner

GATZ
Presented by REDCAT
At the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater
631 W. Second St., L.A.
Nov. 28–Dec. 9, 2012, Wed-Sat, 2pm, Sun 1pm
Tickets: $105-$150; (213) 237-2800
Running time: 8 hours (w/two intermissions and one dinner break)

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