ComedyDramaReviewSouth West

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – New Theatre, Cardiff

Writer: Richard Greenburg, from the novella by Truman Capote
Director: Nikolai Foster
Reviewer: Harry Mottram

Here’s the thing: she looks good, sounds okay and indeed Georgia May Foote puts in a decent performance as Holly Golightly. The problem is not her, it’s the play itself.

tell-us-block_editedTruman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a perfectly balanced short novel while the film with Audrey Hepburn deconstructs the story and reinvents it as a 1960s romantic drama. In this staged version we are left somewhere between the two: neither a lyrical story of wit, sex and cocktails, nor the stylish romantic fantasy promised by the publicity photographs.

Instead, we have the recollections of Fred the writer about the socialite Holly Golightly and his fascination with her as “the top banana in the shock department”. Although the drama lacks the fluent prose of the novel and sparkling visuals of the movie, Richard Greenberg’s version directed at pace by Nikolai Foster attempts to capture the narrator’s obsession with the main protagonist. It also conveys the moody atmosphere of New York on a November morning with its mists, flickering lights and rain-washed streets.

There is much to admire in the production values of this version, designed with a palette of pastel Kodachrome colours by Matthew Wright and a set that includes a fire escape and three front doors. The story returns to the novel’s harder edged tone in which Holly admits: “You can love anyone” in her quest for wealth and status and to leave her humble roots behind. Charlie De Melo as Fred gives a commanding performance as the narrator bewitched by the social butterfly and enjoys one of the most powerful scenes on Brooklyn Bridge as the couple row about their emotional motivation.

The drama is at its best when Fred and Holly clash and when he takes centre stage with a single spotlight and brings colour to Capote’s prose. Or when, with a drink in hand, he discusses Holly with Joe Bell the bartender played by Victor McGuire at his beautifully stocked New York bar.

Foote’s singing is underused with only two songs to her name in the two-hour show but she holds her own in a strong cast with excellent performances from Naomi Cranston as Mag, Robert Calvert as Doc and Melanie La Barrie as Mme Spanella.  However, they are all upstaged by Bob, the cat who appears in several scenes and never puts a paw wrong.

Runs until 12 November 2016 then continues to tour | Image: Sean Ebsworth Barnes

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A strong cast

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One Comment

  1. I found the story weak and didn’t enjoy the show at all. The cast played very well but you can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear!

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