After some interesting reviews from the West End, Breakfast at Tiffany’s continues its journey across the U.K. to Milton Keynes – only this time instead of Pixie Lott, we have Georgia May Foote filling the stylish pumps of Holly Golightly. Truman Capote’s work is adapted by Richard Greenberg here, but a rehash of the film this is not. Anyone not familiar with the novella or the iconic film adaptation may struggle to follow along with this version, not least due to the fast paced dialogue delivered at such a speed. Certainly my companion who had never seen the film struggled to keep up with the seemingly free form twists and turns of Holly’s unconventional life. For example, the Sally Tomato storyline that comes to a head in Act Two is almost frivolously spirited away in between so many breathless lines, making the crux of the piece seem a little sudden and well... not as exciting as it could be.
Foote cuts an adorable figure as Holly, and the real highlight of her performance is her singing. However, it is hard to fall in love with this Holly as much as we might like to. Whether the writing or the delivery, we perhaps fail to see Holly’s allure to the men swaggering about the stage. Consequently, the rest of the ensemble cast work incredibly hard to steer this unwieldy production. Andrew Joshi plays Yunioshi delightfully, adding some much needed gravitas to proceedings. David Cardy’s OJ is a joy, as is the huge hearted performance of Joe Bell by Victor McGuire. Tim Frances brings us two enjoyable turns as the Editor and Rusty Trawler. But it is Matt Barber as Fred who is working overtime to see this ship into harbour. He is a likeable character and his performance is enjoyable to watch; a perfectly imperfect narrator. And of course, as always with any animal on stage, Holly's cat, Cat, stole the show, padding around peacefully all swishy tail and furry flounce. In fact, I think a few of the audience would have happily watched the cat upstage everyone for the full length of the piece…
It seems too, we caught this show on a particularly bad night stagecraft wise... Hardly a scene went by where we couldn’t hear the backstage team banging about, or watch them struggling with set or flashing their torches. More worryingly, at a crucial scene where we find Holly in a hospital bed, Foote and her cast mates nearly ended up in real ones, as a huge piece of set mistakenly flew in, ready to land across her legs! Thank heaven for the quick thinking of Barber, who managed to save his cast mates and stop disaster before beautifully moving into his next scene as if nothing had happened. The whole thing left a little sour taste in the mouth of the audience though. It also serves as a scary reminder that sometimes being too clever with your set changes can lead to disaster. There’s so much flying in and out in this production, it becomes distracting AND dangerous.
The production is probably as close to a description of Holly Golightly as it could be - it looks beautiful on the outside, but underneath there's some turmoil and strife. Such a shame! The book needs some attention, accents and story need clarity and most of all, it needs a bit of the fun of the film added back in! Probably an enjoyable watch for those who are real, true Breakfast/Capote fans or any Foote fetishists who want to watch her sing some pretty songs and wear a selection of very beautiful dresses.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Milton Keynes Theatre
19th – 24th Sept, 2016
© Carly Halse - Reviewed on Tuesday 20th September 2016.