By: Becca Hafford & Emma Taylor
This adaptation of Truman Capote’s classic 1958 novella, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, brought by Nikolai Foster has arrived in Brighton. Every seat in The Theatre Royal was filled, creating an exciting atmosphere before the curtain even rose. When it did it revealed the towering skyscrapers of New York.
The production sees Georgia May Foote cast as Holly Golightly, an impulsive fantasist, made famous on screen by Audrey Hepburn’s iconic performance in 1961. Arriving glamorously onto the stage in the opening scene, Foote instantly grabs the audience with a charisma comparable to Hepburn. She is dressed complete with the recognizable high society black fitted dress, cat-eye glasses and a cigarette in hand. With those sunglasses firmly in place, Foote encapsulates the southern woman aspiring to the metropolitan New Yorker lifestyle in the 1940s.
Foote’s standout moment was the ‘Moon River’ performance, which appeared effortless, as though the beautifully heart-felt tune came naturally to her. Aspiring writer and fellow Brownstone resident, Fred, becomes quickly fascinated with Golightly’s vivacious and high-spirited attitude towards life. The besotted Fred, also playing the role of narrator, becomes preoccupied with capturing the attention of the heroine. Matt Barber’s performance as Fred at times feels somewhat strained and audiences can struggle to feel emphatic towards his plight of unrequited affection. Golightly is consistently surrounded with a string of suitors and ambiguous clientele, with few genuine friends and a difficult past, all of which contribute to creating a cloud of melancholy loneliness around her seemingly dazzling lifestyle. As the plot progresses, there are smooth transitions between the apartment and bar settings, the latter owned by the likable Joe Bell, played by Victor Mc Guire who adds a certain charm to the role. One highlight of his performance being the dynamic re-calling of a conversation with Yunioshi to Fred, subtly introducing audiences to Holly Golightly. This scene intelligently reveals her ambiguous character, an essential point within the plot, as the dialogue-heavy script means the tale can be hard to follow at times.
The scenes shift frequently and with ease between the shabby New York flats of both Fred and Golighty. The personal touches of both flats were impressive, truly echoing the personality of the characters as they struggle to find themselves in the bustling city setting. The inconspicuous acting from the ensemble of background characters is impressive without outshining the lead roles. This is most notable in the case of Melanie La Barrie as the hilarious disgruntled neighbor who insists on bellowing in her operatic voice whilst roller-skating across the stage. All the accompanying actors worked well to set the scene and bring life to the stage behind the forefront protagonists. The chemistry between Foote and Barber is wholly convincing, however the slickness of the varying American accent slips in places.
One memorable moment saw O J Berman deliver his lines with an unmistakable cockney twang, causing some audience members to discreetly snicker. The inclusion a real-life cat, was an impressive undertaking, which ultimately paid off, as he overwhelmingly steals the show. The adorable creature plods across the stage, providing much needed comedic relief during the most poignant scenes.
The climax occurs as the heroine’s past eventually catches up with her, after tragic events complicate her journey to finding true happiness.