Make sure you have breakdown cover this Summer

Summer is here and in the next few weeks people will be taking their annual holidays and schools will be breaking up. For some, Summer holidays mean traveling abroad, but for others, the delights of the UK are highly desirable and holiday camps, glamping sites and hotels up and down the country will fill with happy holidaymakers. For those holidaying in the UK, this often means driving on the UK’s busy motorways, and, as with any long car journey, this carries the risk that you will breakdown, due to anything from a blowout, running low on fuel, or the failure of an integral car part. Obviously, if you were to have an accident, your vehicle should be insured, whether it be car or motorbike insurance. But if you break down, the insurance won’t cover you for this unless it is an added option. This is why it is so important to make sure you have breakdown cover for your vehicle.

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Breakdown cover is crucial, and yet it is one of those things that some people either forget to get, or forget to renew. Maybe this is due to it not being compulsory – when your car seems to be running OK, why do you need to think about cover?  It seems one way to save money when times are tough, but it is clearly a false economy. For if you do happen to break down, and need roadside assistance or towing, the cost can be astronomical.

Contact Number UK have put together a useful guide to the biggest breakdown services in the UK. This includes the two best known companies – AA Breakdown and the RAC, as well as Green Flag, Swift Cover (Admiral) and National Breakdown. Each company has their own way of dealing with your breakdown, where AA and RAC have their own recovery vehicles, Green Flag uses a range of different garages that can be localised to your area. RAC has specialist van and motorbike insurance, which is useful if you have a vehicle for work, whilst Swift Cover, as part of the Admiral group, could offer you a discount if you are also taking out some sort of insurance policy at the same time. And, with holidays still in mind, if you are taking your car to Europe this year, it may be worth checking out National Breakdown who offer a single trip EU coverage, so your car will be covered if you hit a problem during your holidays.

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Whatever cover you choose, you need to make sure you have something. To ignore the possibility of breakdown is foolhardy and can ultimately, be very costly.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the New Alexandra Theatre

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.

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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.

Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly and Naomi Cranston as Mag in Breakfast at Tiffany's (Sean Ebsworth Barnes)

Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly and Naomi Cranston as Mag in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Sean Ebsworth Barnes)

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.

Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly (centre) and the cast of Breakfast at Tiffany's Credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly (centre) and the cast of Breakfast at Tiffany’s Credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes

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.

Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes (5)

Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes (5)

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.

Matt Barber as Fred in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Matt Barber as Fred in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes

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