Moon River just doesn't flow
The excitement of this new production has been mounting for months especially to those generations who can recall the iconic Hepburn film.
I for one was swept away by the whole glamour and glitz of the film to the point that I dressed my hair in a French pleat, had a snazzy black dress – albeit a short version and even borrowed my mothers pearls – not to mention at times using a rather horrid plastic cigarette holder.
Later the song Moon River followed me through countless smooches on the dance floor with those at the time I thought of as the loves of my life.
However having had a connection with all things theatre for so long, not for one moment did I think that the production I was going to see would be like the film. Stage plays very rarely are. In fact I could mention at least 11 off the top of my head that I have seen over the past year that have been adapted bearing little resemblance to the original work.
In this adaptation of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s the 60’s gloss has been changed in favour of the 1940’s – I don’t have a problem with that. But like a huge percentage of the audience I did have a problem in getting to grips with what the whole production was really about until well into the first half and even at its conclusion never drew any firm conclusions.
I think I was luckier than most of the audience whose interval talk involved words like “confused” “what is it all about” and “I don’t understand it” And unless you have time to read them, the programme notes give you little to go on even though they go over six pages!
This adaptation is an attempt to analyse cultural and diverse perceptions all wrapped up in the popularity of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. People go to the theatre to be entertained and here is where this production misses. The empty seats after the interval said it all.
The sets and lighting are ingenious and move seamlessly giving mood to the moment and the costumes beautifully and nostalgically correct. But it ends there.
Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly looks the part but it is very hard to understand what she is saying; in fact she is completely inaudible in her dialogue at times. The Southern American accent is a difficult one but obviously it is going to take time for her to master it – if she ever does.
However Lott does manage to put one and a half songs over in her own inimitable way including a very short Moon River, which highly delighted her fans.
But the production does have one saving grace, Matt Barber as Fred. Hardly ever off stage he drives the show and links the scenes together in narration style. Barber has the knack of putting life back into the proceedings when it begins to flag and become rather tired.
The remaining members of the cast tousle with confusion and at times appear to be just walking through it. However I loved Melanie La Barrie’s Mme Spanella that injected a spark of humour with her barbed dialogue.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s should come with an audience warning – read and study Truman’s Capote’s novelette before you see the show – but even then you may not understand it! I eagerly await just what the London critics will say when it opens there later in the year.
The show runs until 9th April at The Grand Theatre, Leeds.