It is an iconic book that became an iconic movie classic. Now ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ has been turned into a play that opened at Birmingham’s New Alexandra Theatre this week, with pop starlet Pixie Lott stepping into the not inconsiderable shoes of Audrey Hepburn to play Holly Golightly. But fans of the Hollywood movie version may be surprised with the differences in the story, and, if you require a pre-requisite Hollywood happy ending, this may not be the show for you.
Fred (not his real name but we never actually find out what it is.) is an aspiring, but down on his luck writer, living in an apartment block with an assortment of kooky neighbours. Chief amongst these is the beautiful, effervescent Holly Golightly, a charming party-girl with a lot of secrets in her past. Holly has one aim in life, to be rich beyond belief, pursuing the odious Randy Trawler as a means to this end. But love has a way of getting in the way, and as Holly and Fred bond over their similar situations, it seems that maybe money isn’t everything. But as the past and present collide, Holly is forced to make choices that will change all of their lives forever.
This version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s is an altogether darker proposition than the Hollywood film, closer to the source material of the Truman Capote novel. There is no room for the Patricia Neal character, Fred’s trysts for money are with men, and you get the distinct impression that he is at least bisexual. Sex and pregnancy before marriage are all part of the story, and the action is transferred to World War 2 era New York, rather than the early 60s of the film. This makes the play interesting to compare to the saccherine Hollywood love story.
As Holly, Pixie Lott is an engaging, elegant presence – a little shrill and shouty at times, but with a graceful poise that makes her Holly very watchable. Her singing voice is strong and powerful and fills the theatre when she sings Moon River. You feel that her Holly is a stronger, harder person than Audrey’s version – more suited to the darker edges of the story, but it does mean that Lott as Holly is sometimes cold and hard to love.
On the other hand I was really impressed with Matt Barber, who made Fred, warm and adorable. He narrates the play and pretty much holds the whole thing together with wit and charm. One of my fave scenes is when he has a drink with Doc – Holly’s abandoned husband. The scene is soft and charming and gives the play heart.
The costumes, sets of New York and the apartment block, and the use of newspaper reports to move the action along are great, and I loved the supporting characters Mag and Rusty. But ultimately, as someone who loves the romance and charm of the movie, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ is just a little dark for me.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s New Alexandra Theatre
Wednesday 20 – Saturday 23rd April 2016
Click here for ticket information