Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a timeless classic brought to life at the King’s Theatre by director Nikolai Foster of Curve Theatre, Leicester. Starring Emily Atack and Matt Barber, some wonderful acting and very clever use of lighting makes this a brilliant play which should be enjoyed by an even more varied audience than the silver generation who attended last night.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s tells the story of Miss Holly Golightly (Emily Atack), a vapid young lady who ends up in New York for no real reason other than the fact she’s “never been”. She shares a building with Fred (Matt Barber), who is attempting to scratch a living as an idealistic, spiritual writer. The two move in and out of each others lives through the play, as Miss Golightly’s true identity and profession become confused with the introduction of characters such as her estranged husband Doc (Robert Calvert) and her lover Jose (Charlie de Melo).
The play’s casting is incredibly strong, with all members playing their part well. Charlie de Melo’s character of Jose, lover to Holly Golightly and budding diplomat, adds a welcome dash of humour to proceedings, while Robert Calvert as Doc, Holly’s slightly pathetic older husband, truly captured the audience and pulls the heart strings.
When it comes to the main cast, it is fair to say the poster and publicity is a little misleading. Emily Atack is the biggest name in the show, partly due to her Inbetweeners and Dad’s Army credits, and so hers is the one which adorns the poster and program. She’s excellent as well. A wonderful Blanche DuBois-esque accent is a particular highlight in a charming and very flirtatious performance from the young English actress.
However, the true star of the show Matt Barber, the actor the story truly follows. Barber brilliantly captures the internal struggle of a young man in love with the persona that someone like Holly gives off, despite the constant rejection he receives. The actors dialogue, to himself, the audience and other characters, also makes it painfully clear that Fred is a character who will never really be happy and Holly is just the latest manifestation of this.
The lighting is also something which deserves extra praise. The story relies heavily on flashbacks which are brilliantly executed using the lighting rig. One character will tell the story of the flashback to another on stage, while also playing their own character in the anecdote. For example, when Holly tells Fred about saying goodbye to her husband at the bus station, she stands in one spotlight at the bar telling friend, before moving into another to say goodbye to her husband, brilliantly moving the audience from one moment to another. The lighting is also used excellently with journalists towards the end of the play to announce key parts of the plot.
All in all, Breakfast At Tiffany’s is a great production of a very entertaining classic. The acting, particularly from the two leads, is flawless and the brilliant use of lighting carries the audience effortlessly from scene to scene.