19-24 September 2016
Reviewed by Jayne Wiggins
I have to admit to being more than a little excited when I realised I had been invited to review Richard Greenberg’s adaptation of this famous story. I made a conscious decision NOT to research show beforehand so set off imagining a musical rendition including the well-known song of the same title! I have seen the iconic images of Hepburn in her well viewed film, but realised I have never actually seen the film, nor knew the storyline!
Set in a rather downtrodden apartment block in the 1950s I waited eagerly to see the lead character – Holly Golightly. What I actually saw left me invigorated, slightly depressed and wanting to know more about this young character who seems to be carrying so much life baggage! (In fact it left me with a yearning to write whatever happened to Holly Golightly!)
The set design had me from the start with a fire escape descending from the ceiling of the stage and the apartment block depicted from inside and out with clever set and props. Even the slight mishap with the descending doors near the end of the show – which nearly saw the doctor character needing a real doctor – the cast worked with the set and brought the audience into the often dingy homes of the two protagonists.
Georgia May Foote was splendid at Golightly, bringing the energetic character to life with the passion and enthusiasm of a small child. The story skirts around the life of Golightly and her neighbour Fred – a hapless would be writer, struggling to make his mark in 1950s journalism and literati. Golightly introduces herself to Fred through his apartment window as she escapes her latest male conquest. The audience are introduced to a slightly hyperactive woman, with childlike qualities who hints at a tragic past and family loss.
The play flits between narrated flashbacks (think Dick Tracey!) to live action at the bar where Victor McGuire is a superb Joe Bell, the bar man who really loved Golightly as a friend and confidant. As we follow the loves of Golightly there are hints of what is to come, after all, nothing good can come from such a flighty woman who can neither settle not live without a man. The tragic news of the death of her beloved brother tips her over the edge and shows her true insanity for all to see. However, it is quite a shock when she is arrested for her part in a local gangster situation and is forced to flee the country rather than turn evidence against a friend. (Throughout this play, her loyalty to those she loves is evident, even if she is not capable of making commitments to anyone including herself!)
The show ends with a final letter to her loyal friend Fred as she tells of her life in Rio. Her life looks set for much of the same as she tells her new lover and his wife! But she never writes back to Fred with her address so we are left wondering if she ever found love, a home, friendship – or ended up in the gutter where she always had the potential to fall.
A very good show, with a story to match too many modern celebrity lives which left me feeling sorry for those in the world who cannot find love, happiness and security. A story which will stand the tests of time, especially in our celebrity obsessed culture.
Well done Truman Capote for the original writing of what could almost be true of the characters he met and lived with at the time.
Tickets cost from £19.40 to £42.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 24 September 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 8717652.
Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 3NZ