Review: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
The Lowry Theatre, Manchester, 16th March 2016.
Glamorous, sophisticated, and energetic- a charming and fresh rendition of a well known classic.
Immediately compared to the iconic 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s playwright Richard Greenberg and director Nikolai Foster had a lot of pressure and high expectations. And it has not faltered. For a start is shouldn’t even be compared to the film. Not because it isn’t good, on the contrary it was exceptional. But there were few similarities with the film, as the play is based on the original 1958 novel by Truman Capote.
Set in 1940s, New York, the show begins with a brief glimpse of a Miss Holly Golightly, played by Pixie Lott, staring into a Tiffany’s window.
In her debut role, Pixie Lott oozes glamour and confidence. Being a multi award winning singer, her natural talent for performing is flawless. She captures the audience with her interpretation of Holly. Pixie’s Miss Golightly is frivolous, glamorous and immensely likeable even in her cold and sometimes heartless moments. She is less of Audrey Hepburn’s romantic dreamer, and more of a realist, who doesn’t know what she wants. Her neighbour, ‘Fred’ or ‘Darling’ as he is often referred to, is played by Downtown Abbey’s Matt Barber.
Narrating the play, and taking us back to his life in New York 15 years earlier, Matt is charming, charismatic and passionate as Fred. An aspiring writer, Fred moves to New York and becomes infatuated with the beautiful, carefree girl in his apartment building. After only one meeting with Holly, Fred is bewitched by her. Holly is an independent, free spirited young woman unlike any he has ever met. She is also a woman with a mysterious past. Matt Barber conveys Fred’s torn emotions and his passion excellently, with excited fast pace speech, reflective monologues and desperate pleas with Holly, all while interacting with the audience.
Other characters include Holly’s handsome Brazilian suitor Jose played by Charlie De Melo and Holly’s so called ‘friend’, the flamboyant ‘bore’ Mag played by Naomi Cranston. Millionaire Rusty Trawler is played by Tim Frances and the mysterious Doc is played by Robert Calvert.
Matthew Wright’s costumes are sublime- glamorous gowns, handsome suits, dazzling jewellery and oversized sunglasses, all from the 1940s era. The stylish and versatile set created apartments, a bar and the fire escape brilliantly. The Tiffany blue Manhattan skyline was the perfect backdrop that added a touch of glamour.
Pixie Lott plays Holly with wit and emphasises her outrageous lifestyle. But she cleverly never reveals that there maybe more to her life. That is until she sings. Sat on the fire escape wearing a casual 1940s suit, Holly sings a song about her travels. Her Southern accent and reminiscent tone of voice, suggests there is something more to the New York glamour girl.
Of course, Pixie sang Henry Mancini’s Moon River. Sitting on a bed, Pixie enchanted the audience with her emotional and chilling rendition of the iconic song. Accompanied only with a guitar, Pixie’s soulful voice made Holly even more charming. Pixie also sang another song in a scene with Fred on Brooklyn Bridge. In this song we learn of a more romantic Holly, but also of her constant need to run away.
Fans of the film will be surprised by Holly’s personality, the events and the relationship between Holly and Fred. The play purposely differs from the film, sticking to the book. It is a captivating and refreshing play with a sensational cast and brilliant acing and iconic characters.
But don’t let the memory of the film overshadow your opinion. It is an enjoyable storyline unlike any. I would recommend reading the book to see where the film and the play originated.
Book tickets to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s on stage here- http://breakfastattiffanys.co.uk/
Pixie Lott’s cover of Moon river is available on iTunes here- https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/moon-river-single/id1078905332
By Nicole Sherwood