This production from the Rondo Theatre Company provides a rare chance to see three playlets by F. Scott Fitzgerald, celebrated chronicler of the vagaries of those roaring Twenties.
Sometimes there’s a reason why things are rarely performed, ie not worth seeing; but thankfully not here. The pieces give a vivid satirical look at the antics of over-privileged bright young things in America in the heady interval between the First World War and the Wall Street Crash.
The first, ‘The Broken Lute’, features a drunken reunion of some Ivy League alumni from before the war – not that many of them had much to do with that – and features, in and among some riotous partying, plenty of discussion of the topics that mainly concern them at the time.
These include Prohibition, yes; meaning of life, well, a teeny bit; but mostly how to get money without having to work for it, and how to spend it on meaningless fun.
‘Porcelain and Pink’ is a delicious vignette of a coquettish flapper in her bath, outrageously risqué for the times, with some naughty puns while her unseeing beau talks to her through a window.
‘The Debutante’ is a sort of sub-Noel Coward look at the collision of money and what passes for love in the US version of ‘coming out’ into the marriage market for a young woman; with much brittle chatter and teasing of would- be suitors, and maternal pressure to favour the rich ones, unsurprisingly.
All of this is brought to sparkling life with tremendous verve by its large and talented cast, and even includes some very lively song and dance routines in the intervals.
Altogether, a well-chosen and thoroughly enjoyable immersion into the world of a particular class of people at a brief and vanished period of history.
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Reviewer: John Christopher Wood
Tales from the Jazz Age was a Rondo Theatre Company production at The Rondo Theatre.