Breakfast at Tiffany's is currently playing a limited twelve-week season at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, in London. I had high expectations of the show, but I came away feeling underwhelmed. Whilst Pixie Lott, who stars as Holly Golightly, is superb and acts as well as she sings, the overall show drags. There are some really nice songs in the production (Moon River and People Will Say We're In Love being my two favourites) which help to pick up the pace at times, but there needs to be more of this. It seems to me that the show half-heartedly commits to being modern, and artistic, but has missed the mark by a fraction, and this creates quite a clash with the more classic tone of the play: it is almost stylistic, almost down-to-earth, almost modern, and almost quaint.
Whenever Lott is on stage, she is engaging, and captivates the interest of the audience; however, I think that Matt Barber, playing Fred, could be more engaging in his role. Breakfast at Tiffany's being a play based purely on the characters of Holly and Fred, this mix means that, overall, the play comes across as fairly engaging, but not spectacularly so.
The play drags a little, especially in Act One. The songs – of which they are only a few – are really the main thing to break up the production and give it a better pace. Some of the stylistic ideas are repeated a few too many times (lighting, lighting, lighting) and they do become a little self-indulgent.
The cat (who remains nameless in the play but is, in fact, called Bob outside of working hours) is a definite five out of five in terms of casting. I have never seen a cat so chilled, and well-behaved. Bob owns the stage when he saunters onto it, and is a pleasure to watch.
And as for the rest of the cast ...
As I have mentioned, Pixie Lott is a delight to watch. She has a lovely voice, which she gets to show off a couple of times in the show – but, more than this, her acting is en point: energetic, believable and strong. The other ten members of the cast are fine, but don't really stand out within the show. There are a couple of times where the acting comes across as a tiny bit overdone, but this is rare and doesn't impact the overall production.
I really enjoyed the staging of the production. There is lots on stage for nearly all of the play, and it gives a real sense of authenticity. I am easily impressed by stairs on stage – I think that they nearly always look good as part of a set – and Breakfast at Tiffany's is no exception; with a fire escape, two rooms and various other pieces of staging (a bath-tub, for example) the stage looks really good from start to finish.
The lighting of the production is also very good – there is a lovely silhouette image at the end of the show, which has a real impact. Again, sometimes the “stylistic” bits of lighting come across as a tiny bit too much but, on the whole, it added a lot to the atmosphere of the show.
Would Most People Enjoy It? ★★
You will probably enjoy this production if you are a fan of the film or book. It is quite slow, and misses the mark a couple of times, but it is still enjoyable and I don't think that many people would go and strongly dislike it. It may just leave you feeling a bit ambivalent.
The “Wow” Factor ★
This really isn't a “wow” factor kind of show. There are some nice moments, but no real “wow”s. (Aside from Bob, of course.)
Price of Seats ★★
Tickets to see Breakfast at Tiffany's can be found at quite good prices (you can get them for £18 from London Theatre Direct). However, you would be more likely to spend around £50 for really good seats. Whilst that seems quite reasonable for a big show, I think that it is quite expensive for something that may not completely bowl you over.
All in All ...
Breakfast at Tiffany's is an enjoyable play, but perhaps it would be better suited at a smaller, regional theatre, as opposed to the centre of the West End, where the level of expectation is, naturally, a lot higher. It is not the sort of show that I would imagine many people would actually dislike, but it isn't as exceptional as a lot of shows in London. However, there are some lovely moments in the play and, if you want to see for yourself, you can catch it at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until September 2016.
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