Kings Theatre, Edinburgh – until 4 June 2016
Then touring ahead of the West End
Guest reviewer: Susan Lowes
There is charm and sparkle on the stage at Edinburgh’s Kings Theatre until Saturday, and that’s not just from the costume jewellery.
Curve Theatre Leicester brings the elegance and sophistication of Truman Capote’s novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, to life. And true to the original is set in 1940s New York during the war. This adaptation, by Richard Greenberg, differs to the 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn. While Breakfast at Tiffany’s is always going to be about Miss Holly Golightly, this has a different focus, casting the limelight on the unnamed New York writer who narrates it.
This story is all about his friendship – and mild obsession – with his neighbour. The story begins with a possible sighting of Holly Golightly in Africa after a long disappearance, sparking the writer’s recollections of the time he spent with her in New York.
And the result is rather interesting. The punchy rat-a-tat-tat newspaper-speak dialogue that pervades throughout, clearly evidences his telling of the tale. They say there’s always three sides to a story – his, hers and the actual truth. This is his, the way he remembers it, and the way he’s chosen to retell it. It’s very cleverly done indeed.
As with any good storyteller, he gives his characters dimensions. The less well-known characters get more attention than they once might have done. People’s interests, aspirations and motivations are explored – and not just Holly’s.
Holly herself is played expertly by Emily Atack (known mostly from her roles in The Inbetweeners and Dad’s Army). She’s all glamour and charm and sophistication. There’s no trace of Hepburn’s naive Holly; Atack’s Holly knows what she’s doing. That’s not to say that she’s not fragile or vulnerable, or even lost (to a point) – but, importantly, it does make her more relatable.
Holly Golightly is supposed to make girls want to be her and make men want to be with her. Atack’s Holly achieves exactly this – it’s impossible not to copy her turn of speech and tone after the curtain comes down.
Matt Barber, or Atticus Aldridge as Downton fans know him, complements Atack as the writer/storyteller. Holly calls him Fred, never asking him his real name. Appearing suave and self-assured at first, as he delves into his memories of himself, we see a more naive and hesitant side to his character.
His friendship with Holly has clearly influenced his life. He looks back on his memories with a sense of warmth and playfulness. His obsession still lingering in the back of his mind, but it’s as though he’s realised that he could never cage her.
Smooth is the only way to describe this production. Matthew Wright’s amazingly intricate and interactive sets glide into and out of each other, the sultry saxophone playing in the background, Atack’s soft, lilting yet powerful songs.
Director Nikolai Foster has created a sophisticated new insight into old characters. Instead at sitting at odds though, it complements the 1961 film version well – as another side of the classic tale.
Running time: 2 hours 30 mins (including interval)
King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street, EH3 9LQ
Monday 30 May – Saturday 4 June 2016.
Daily 7.30pm; Matinee Saturday 2.30pm
Tickets from: www.edtheatres.com/breakfast
Tour website: http://breakfastattiffanys.co.uk/
Buy the novella or film on Amazon:
Breakfast at Tiffany’s on tour 2016:
30 May – 4 Jun:
0131 529 6000
6 – 11 Jun:
01494 512 000
13 – 18 Jun:
Bord Gais Theatre
0844 847 2455
20 – 25 Jun:
Theatre Royal Plymouth
30 Jun – 17 Sept:
Theatre Royal Haymarket
020 7930 8800
19 – 24 Sep
Milton Keynes Theatre
0844 871 7652
26 Sept – 1 Oct
0844 871 3012
10 – 15 Oct
17 – 22 Oct
0114 249 6000
On Sale Soon
31 Oct – 5 Nov
Grand Opera House
028 9024 1919
7 – 12 Nov
029 2087 8889
14 – 19 Nov