Writer: Richard Greenburg, from the novella by Truman Capote
Director: Nikolai Foster
Reviewer: Maggie Constable
One cannot help but be charmed at Milton Keynes Theatre this week by Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Taken from Truman Capote’s famous 1958 novella, this stage adaptation by the award-winning playwright Richard Greenburg now features music and song. The much-loved 60s film of the same name, of course, starred Audrey Hepburn in the iconic role.
We are in the Big Apple in the early 40s and Louisiana-born Fred is beguiled by the fun-loving, energetic and social butterfly that is Holly Golightly. He is not the only one but her other devotees include men with power, money and more. Fred, on the other hand, is just a poor, young writer from the South. Across the other side of the globe World War 2 grinds on as Holly, by contrast, continues to dance her social whirl, initially unaffected by it all. As time goes on, she finds herself falling in love with Fred just as her past returns to haunt her and life delivers some special twists. The story is recounted by Fred and seen through his eyes.
Georgia May Foote, best known on TV in Coronation Street and as runner-up in Strictly Come Dancing 2015, brings us Holly Golightly. It is always hard to take on a role so memorably portrayed in a film, especially by the charismatic Hepburn, but Foote really gives it a go and is very credible. She is able to get across the differing aspects of the Golightly character including her naïveté and vulnerability, and at the same time her controlling nature, as well as her knack for ruthless gold-digging. Foote does well to maintain the cadences of her accent, even if it is a little hard to understand at times with a somewhat speedy delivery. She has a pleasant singing voice and performs a sweet and tuneful rendition of Moon River in the second act.
Matt Barber takes on the part of Fred and is rarely off the stage, which is just as well because he holds it. Not only does he portray a totally believable Fred but he has real presence and his interactions with Holly work extremely well. The audience can see the relationship developing.
Victor McGuire, as Joe Bell, conveys his devotion to Holly as convincingly as he does the New York bartender. Robert Calvert plays the Doc role to a tee and displays his heartfelt confusion and sadness with just the right amount of pathos. There are some poignant moments when Doc first meets Fred and when he sees Holly again. Charlie De Melo gives us José the Brazilian politician with whom the hapless Holly believes she has fallen in love and thinks she is going to escape to a better life in a nicely understated performance, much in the same way as Bob the cat. Andrew Joshi’s Yunioshi, the photographer, is spot on and adds to the dramatic effect of the recounting of the story.
Songs and Grant Olding’s original music work well with the simple set to depict the era, ambiance and the various venues. Unfortunately, a few technical hitches with the set, where staff ran on stage and there was a near accident, marred the overall effect at this performance. The costumes, particularly the many into which Foote has to change, are perfect, again describing the 40s perfectly.
Despite teething problems, this is an enjoyable evening’s entertainment, well received.
Runs until 24 September 2016 | Image: Contributed