Vivienne Kennedy reviews Breakfast at Tiffany’s, playing at Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday 1st October
I’m very lucky, I go to the theatre a lot, and I see a very wide range of shows. Most of them I enjoy but I have to say I wasn’t enamoured with Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
I can’t put my finger on anything being specifically wrong or bad about this Curve production of Richard Greenberg’s adaptation of Truman Capote’s classic novella. I have no criticism of Nikolai Foster’s direction, Matthew Wright’s set and costume design (the Brooklyn Bridge backdrop in particular is actually rather beautiful), or of the performances of any of the cast. I just didn’t find the story riveting and, with one exception, didn’t warm to any of the characters.
Set in the early 1940s, against a background of war, Breakfast at Tiffany’s tells the story of two tenants living in a New York brownstone. One is Holly Golightly, a country girl turned socialite who has no real source of income, her lifestyle supported by wealthy men who she “socialises” with, hoping to one day become one’s wife. The other, the show’s narrator, is a writer. He becomes friends with Holly, fascinated by her curious lifestyle, and gradually finds out more about her past and present.
There are some beautiful lines, some wonderfully descriptive passages, but for me, the most interesting elements of the storyline seem barely touched upon, glossed over too quickly, when it perhaps would have been interesting to find out more.
Making her theatrical debut as Holly, Georgia May Foote, who is best known for roles in Grange Hill and Coronation Street and for making it to the final of last year’s Strictly Come Dancing competition, performs well and her rendition of Moon River in Act Two is very prettily sung. It’s the character I didn’t warm to, not her performance.
Likewise Matt Barber as the narrator, who Holly names Fred (after her brother) and Victor McGuire as the barman Joe Bell. They don’t do anything wrong, but I found I didn’t care about them enough to find them interesting.
The one character I did warm to was Doc Holliday, Holly’s husband, who shows up at the end of Act One. Played by Robert Calvert, he does evoke some sympathy, and last night actually earned a communal “aw” from the audience for one particular line.
Cat, played purr-fectly by Bob from A1 Animals, also appealed to the audience – who knew a cat could exit a stage with such perfect timing?
I didn’t know what to expect from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I’ve never read the book or seen the film. If you have, and if you enjoyed them, you’ll probably enjoy the play too. It just wasn’t for me.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s runs at Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday 1st October. For further information visit www.atgtickets.com
Image: Georgia May Foote as Holly Golightly and Matt Barber as Fred in Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Sean Ebsworth Barnes