“…Composer Joe Evans's music and lyrics evoke the decadent rush of the jazz era and its seedy underbelly. A well-executed, at times affecting and stylish production…”
Time Out – Show of the Week
“…It revels delectably in the period glitz and, with actors doubling up as musicians, deftly harnesses the yearning beat of jazz that echoes so perfectly the strains of heartbreak and disenchantment...”
“…With delicate performance, oozing class... this musical adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald's novel grips throughout…”
“…The Great Gatsby Musical has both style and heart…"
“…Joe Evans’ score manages to capture both the hedonism and the deep despair of the age...”
“…Joe Evans, who also provides live piano accompaniment, has written some wistful songs that capture a whiff of Victorian parlour entertainment, lending the evening a rueful air…”
“...An eerie sideshow quality that Andrew Lloyd Webber would do well to take note of...”
“…The live musical accompaniment, scored by Joe Evans, is one of the major pleasures of this evocative production…”
“…With music haunting and spectacular…”
“...Heady, seedy seduction...”
“…Its lovely, original score, composed by Joe Evans, seemed to under-score the tension...”
“...The music, from Joe Evans, is wonderfully atmospheric...”
"... a husky woodwind score by Joe Evans... conjures a distinctive, piquant atmosphere..."
“...The play cleverly intertwines the classic story with snippets of cabaret, burlesque musical and vocal works which ensures the show engages the audience throughout...”
“...Joe Evan’s music was haunting, full of the heavy melancholic longing of traditional Eastern European folk songs. The singing was beautiful, particularly in the ensemble pieces...”
“… Joe Evans’s play with music takes the Grimm tale of the girl with the long golden hair, and relocates it to a seedy jazz bar…
"… We’re in a basement, heavy with whisky and dramatic chords – a place for ‘the dark side, the grim tales, the minor keys…"
“...The live music, composed by Joe Evans, both sung, and played on piano, clarinet and cello, perfectly evokes the atmosphere of the times, and adds a very pleasurable layer to a carefully thought out production...”
… Joe Evans’s score skilfully reveals the troubles and dreams of the lonely souls who bring their woes to the piano…
“...Joe Evans’ evocative music and lyrics conveyed the yearning sadness of Chekhov’s major dramas, notably The Cherry Orchard, referenced in Linnie Reedman’s witty script...”
The Public Reviews
“…We also enjoy the feel of decadent cafe society and music and dance that affirm life and heighten the pathos of its brevity…”
“...Joe Evans’ songs integrate well with the action and there are some fine voices on show, especially the soprano of Lindsey Crow (above). And it's simply a delight to hear music played live – Claire-Monique Martin's violin is an eerie presence on and off stage, disorienting us as to reflect the confusion of Sophia in particular...”
“...The music is haunting, hailing influences from composer Vasily Kalinnikov. There is also a Russian folk influence in the themes, and I felt at times there might be a nod to the Romanian Doina and bohemian gypsy culture...”
… A neat, touching, melancholy musical, about shifting from the black notes to the white, and believing in the possibility of happy endings, despite experience…”
… The piano is a great prop, allowing the actors to show the smoky atmosphere of Evans’s songs …”
“...Skilfully and engagingly handled, the music is integral to the feel of the piece. The production company, Ruby in the Dust, call what they do ‘music-scape’; neither straight drama nor musical theatre, it feels like a cross between a painter’s landscape and a film’s soundscape...”
“...Joe Evans has done a fantastic job of directing the music, which was brilliantly played and sung throughout. He himself plays the piano score. He has done well to mostly keep within the musical influences of 1886, taking inspiration from groundbreaking Russian composer Vasily Kalinnikov...”
“...An engaging performance in a beautiful setting with great performers and music...”
One Stop Arts
PRESS FOR "GATSBY"
“Joe Evans’s smoky, jazzy score, Belle Mundi's superb costume designs and a summer's evening in London to rival some of Long Island's finest combine to present an excellent depiction of America's 'Roaring Twenties'. Strong performances, and clever direction by Linnie Reedman, help to convey the hope and glamour of the era, shrouding the insecurities, secrets and sadness below the glitzy surfaces of these characters."
"Joe Evans’ score is excellent, full of sumptuous melodies and a rich variety of sound; with piano, clarinet, violin, double bass and cello evoking a range of emotions. The ensemble songs… succeed in instantly grabbing the attention."
“This musical adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald's novel grips throughout”
Plays To See
"Joe Evans’ manipulation of Fitzgerald’s lyrical prose is breath-taking as his lyrics are beautifully animated by the actors. A show-stopping, must-see production.”
"A brilliantly jazz- and gin-soaked evening’s entertainment set in the glitz and glamour of the so-called ‘roaring twenties’. The up-tempo jazz numbers effectively establish the buzzing energy of this period, but the slower, more dramatic songs also powerfully uncover the heartache and emptiness lying beneath the glossy veneer, with some of their lyrics lifted directly from Fitzgerald’s perfectly-constructed prose. Joe Evans’ excellent compositions flow seamlessly with the action."
The atmosphere is joyous. The wonderful musicality of Joe Evans is accompanied by actors seamlessly moving from playing in a scene to taking up an instrument throughout. The Great Gatsby is a must see whether you are an aficionado of the genre or not.
“Joe Evans’ score manages to capture both the hedonism and the deep despair of the age.”
UK Theatre Network Magazine
" The music is up there with the best. Composed by Joe Evans who also wrote the lyrics, at times it tears out your heart, at others it’s all glitz and glamour as the twenties roar into the jazz age. There is so much good theatre playing off-West End, and this production is one such treat."
The Up Coming Review
"Joe Evans managed to weave some very touching songs from the strands of Fitzgerald’s prose and his own original lyrics."
British Theatre Guide
"The music is delightful—it captures the spirit of the jazz age without being pastiche—and there are some plaintively touching numbers too."
The Good Review
“Composer Joe Evans has created a score which, by turns, captures the joie de vivre of the era and the yearning in the central characters’ lives.”
Musical Theatre Review
“Joe Evans’ compositions drip with affection for the Jazz Age.”
What’s Been Seen
“Evans effortlessly writes a score that could have been plucked from the 1920’s itself. An acute knowledge of the genre has resulted in a highly lyrical and lively score, complete with some soaring and heartbreaking melodies that heighten the intense emotions of the story.”