Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Jun 1 2016 | By More

★★★★☆    Smooth sophistication

Kings Theatre: Mon 30 May – Sat 4 June 2016
Review by Susan Lowes

There is charm and sparkle on the stage at the Kings Theatre until Saturday, and that’s not just from the costume jewellery.

Curve Theatre Leicester brings the elegance and sophistication of Truman Capote’s novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, to life. And true to the original is set in 1940s New York during the war.

Emily Atack as Holly Golightly. Photo: Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Emily Atack as Holly Golightly. Photo: Sean Ebsworth Barnes

This adaptation, by Richard Greenberg, differs to the 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn. While Breakfast at Tiffany’s is always going to be about Miss Holly Golightly, this has a different focus, casting the limelight on the unnamed New York writer who narrates it.

This story is all about his friendship – and mild obsession – with his neighbour. The story begins with a possible sighting of Holly Golightly in Africa after a long disappearance, sparking the writer’s recollections of the time he spent with her in New York.

And the result is rather interesting. The punchy rat-a-tat-tat newspaper-speak dialogue that pervades throughout, clearly evidences his telling of the tale. They say there’s always three sides to a story – his, hers and the actual truth. This is his, the way he remembers it, and the way he’s chosen to retell it. It’s very cleverly done indeed.

As with any good storyteller, he gives his characters dimensions. The less well-known characters get more attention than they once might have done. People’s interests, aspirations and motivations are explored – and not just Holly’s.

glamour and charm and sophistication

Holly herself is played expertly by Emily Atack (known mostly from her roles in The Inbetweeners and Dad’s Army). She’s all glamour and charm and sophistication. There’s no trace of Hepburn’s naive Holly; Atack’s Holly knows what she’s doing. That’s not to say that she’s not fragile or vulnerable, or even lost (to a point) – but, importantly, it does make her more relatable.

Victor McGuire (Joe Bell0 and Matt Barber (Fred). Photo: Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Victor McGuire (Joe Bell0 and Matt Barber (Fred). Photo: Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Holly Golightly is supposed to make girls want to be her and make men want to be with her. Atack’s Holly achieves exactly this – it’s impossible not copy her turn of speech and tone after the curtain comes down.

Matt Barber, or Atticus Aldridge as Downton fans know him, complements Atack as the writer/storyteller. Holly calls him Fred, never asking him his real name. Appearing suave and self-assured at first, as he delves into his memories of himself, we see a more naive and hesitant side to his character.

His friendship with Holly has clearly influenced his life. He looks back on his memories with a sense of warmth and playfulness. His obsession still lingering in the back of his mind, but it’s as though he’s realised that he could never cage her.

Smooth is the only way to describe this production. Matthew Wright’s amazingly intricate and interactive sets glide into and out of each other, the sultry saxophone playing in the background, Atack’s soft, lilting yet powerful songs.

Director Nikolai Foster has created a sophisticated new insight into old characters. Instead at sitting at odds though, it complements the 1961 film version well – as another side of the classic tale.

Running time: 2 hours 30 mins (including interval)
King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street, EH3 9LQ
Monday 30 May – Saturday 4 June 2016.
Daily 7.30pm; Matinee Saturday 2.30pm
Tickets from:
Tour website:

Buy the novella or film on Amazon:

Breakfast at Tiffany’s on tour 2016:
30 May – 4 Jun:
Emily Atack
King’s Theatre
0131 529 6000 Book online
6 – 11 Jun:
Emily Atack
High Wycombe
Wycombe Swan
01494 512 000 Book online
13 – 18 Jun:
Pixie Lott
Bord Gais Theatre
0844 847 2455 Book online
20 – 25 Jun:
Pixie Lott
Theatre Royal Plymouth
01752 267222 Book online
30 Jun – 17 Sept:
Pixie Lott
Theatre Royal Haymarket
020 7930 8800 Book online
19 – 24 Sep Milton Keynes**
Milton Keynes Theatre
0844 871 7652 Book online
26 Sept – 1 Oct Bristol**
0844 871 3012 Book online
10 – 15 Oct Malvern
Festival Theatre
01684 892277 Book online
17 – 22 Oct Sheffield
Lyceum Theatre
0114 249 6000 On Sale Soon
31 Oct – 5 Nov Belfast
Grand Opera House
028 9024 1919 Book online
7 – 12 Nov Cardiff
New Theatre
029 2087 8889 Book online
14 – 19 Nov Norwich
Theatre Royal
01603 630000 Book online


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Comments (2)

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  1. Mrs Doreen Orr says:

    Unfortunately, I did not think this production had enough excitement, drive or enthusiasm.

    I was not aware of the jewels you mention, but I did think the stage sets very clever although the inside of the apartments were too, too drab for the period. A few actors with small parts helped.

  2. Suzanne Senior says:

    I saw the show tonight, and am afraid I am going to have to disagree with this review. I was thrilled and totally engaged by the recent production of “Guys and Dolls” at the Playhouse, and was expecting a similar theatrical experience from this production. Unfortunately it didn’t happen, and if I have to pinpoint anything, it would have to be Emily Atack’s portrayal of Holly. Obviously Audrey Hepburn is a hard act to follow, but Ms Atack delivered a very two-dimensional performance, with no heart. I was neither convinced, nor compelled by her, especially in the scenes requiring more emotional depth. . I wanted to cry her tears, but was constantly aware that she was acting, rather than giving a truthful portrayal of the character. In short, I don’t think she was up to the job.

    In order to succeed,, a show has to reach out to your emotions, and although the other members of the cast delivered good performances, and the production was generally slick, I felt that overall, it lacked real depth and substance, which were definitely present in the film version.