Theatre review: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

Emily Atack as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's
Emily Atack as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's
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The power of screen celebrity is a wonderful thing. Take one star of cult television hit The Inbetweeners, one co-star who appeared in Downton Abbey, and a title familiar from one of the best-loved films of the 20th century, and hey presto – on a beautiful summer evening in Edinburgh, you have a King’s Theatre packed with eager theatregoers.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s | Rating: *** | King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

Written by Richard Greenberg – with occasional songs, including Henry Mancini classic Moon River from the film –this new version of the 1958 Truman Capote story comes from The Curve, Leicester, and is based on the original novella, rather than on Blake Edwards’s great 1961 film, which prettied up the details of heroine Holly Golightly’s life as an “escort” to wealthy men, in order to meet the demands of 1950s Hollywood moralism.

What Nikolai Foster’s production lacks, though, is the film’s boldness in seizing the potential of its own medium. Instead, Greenberg’s adaptation plods through the original story, describing Holly’s life through the eyes of her smitten rooming-house neighbour, Fred, but doing so without any real theatrical flair, in scenes that often seem – given a pair of slightly mumbled, introverted leading performances from 
Emily Atack and Matt Barber – very far away from the audience in the stalls.

In film, a good director can work miracles with the camera. In theatre, though, we only have the words, the actors, the staging; and although this Breakfast At Tiffany’s is faithful enough to the story to capture some of its shabby charm, in the end it has neither the script non the performances – nor the quality of direction –that would lift it out of the ordinary.

• Run ends today