Review West End

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Theatre Royal, Haymarket

breakfast at tiffany's

It’s one of the most highly anticipated shows of the summer, as singer Pixie Lott makes her stage debut playing Holly Golightly in Richard Greenberg’s adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The iconic role was made famous by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film, who endorsed the morning ritual of standing in front of a gleaming shop windows whilst munching on your breakfast pastry. It’s a golden oldie and Hepburn has pretty big shoes for Pixie to fill, but she brings a certain amount of sass and glamour to the role and completely makes it her own as a blonde bombshell Holly. However, sadly the production fails to really take off the ground.

Holly adores being at the height of New York society, throwing extravagant parties, chinking martinis and mixing with the city’s wealthiest men who lavish gifts and money upon her – but it’s all a facade. Beneath her outgoing flirtations, lies a complex character with a hint of call girl and friends in ugly places. She’s free-spirited and headstrong and when a young writer moves into her block, he’s fascinated by her eccentricity and falls hopelessly in love with this evasive woman.

The story is narrated by writer Fred, played by Matt Barber. He is utterly charming and helplessly adorable, as we share in his frustration over his unrequited love for Holly. Barber’s a handsome chap and easily wins over the audience with a delightfully endearing performance.

breakfast at tiffany's

Set designer Matthew Wright paints a vivid picture of old school New York with a simplistic set that is bathed in the Tiffany turquoise blue. It feels as finely packaged as one of their iconic boxes – cute and neatly wrapped. He makes great use of the space for the breath-taking landscapes of the Brooklyn Bridge and fire escape cladded apartment blocks, but isn’t afraid to keep the staging intimate for smaller scenes.

The wonderful injection of era-inspired songs bring the play to life and Lott’s vocal talent unsurprisingly shines. Her performance of ‘Moon River’ was beautifully sung with just a guitar for accompaniment that really allowed her voice to soar. They offer quieter moments of reflection and an insight into Holly, who on appearance comes across as aloof and guarded. Additional songs in the show would have definitely picked up the pace in some of the lagging scenes which at times dragged and lost a little momentum.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding Nikolai Foster’s production and my expectations were high, however I couldn’t help feeling a little underwhelmed. The story lacks in pace through the first act, as Holly flits in and out of scenes and there’s a lot of unanswered door knocking. I feel many of the faults lie with the writing and it’s perhaps not something that translates well to stage. Some of the backstory feels fuzzy and unclear and although it’s been some time since I saw the film, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on.

It’s still an enjoyable couple of hours and I am sure it will be loved by fans of the film. There are many great aspects to Foster’s stylish production and for Lott’s debut she is a sparkling performer. Perhaps slightly edited and with the inclusion of further musical numbers this could be a sure hit.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s runs until 17th September at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket.

(Photo courtesy of Sean Ebsworth Barnes)

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