The Theatre Royal Haymarket will welcome a brand new adaptation of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s to its stage in September this year. A courageous and historic move, this production will mark the first time the Capote’s novella has been adapted for the stage since legendary rubbish Broadway musical of 1966.
Not actually based on the book, but adapted from the 1961 movie, the show never gelled according to producer David Merrick. Celebrated writers Abe Burrows and Edward Albee had a hand in writing and rewriting the troublesome musical, and even the constantly smiley actress Mary Tyler Moore in the lead role couldn’t hold the show together. Audiences laughed at the serious and poignant moments, and songs and comic parts were met with a collective yawn.
Merrick shut the show down after only four previews, and while one might think that a producer would want to keep such a flop as quiet as possible, he went so far as to post an ad in the New Post informing the theatre going public that he closed Breakfast at Tiffany’s for their benefit and that of New York’s critics. The show’s failure has gone down in theatre history and it has been said that if Breakfast at Tiffany’s had been seen by as many people who claim to have seen it, it would probably still be running today.
The film from which the musical took its inspiration was, of course, the well loved version that starred Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, the most iconic role of her career and one of the most recognisable, and reproduced, images in Hollywood history. It moved the action from Truman Capote’s mid 1940’s setting to the early 1960’s and even omitted a number of characters. Subsequently, an adaptation of the film was simply a adaptation of another person’s interpretation of an original idea, and it is probable that the aims and themes of the original were lost in translation.
However, the future of this new play, beginning at the Haymarket in September, looks decidedly more rosy. Young playwright Samuel Adamson has disregarded the film almost entirely in his latest project and has gone back to Truman Capote’s original novella, although for the movie’s many ardent fans he has included the Oscar winning song Moon River, sung on screen by Hepburn. A faithful yet fresh take on the original story, Adamson set his play in 1943 and reinstated a number of characters and scenes absent from the movie. An impressive cast includes British actress as Anna Friel as Holly Golightly. Although Friel is best known in Britain as Brookside’s homicidal lesbian Beth Jordache, in recent years she has had great success on the Broadway stage as well as on US television shows such as Pushing Daisies. Joining her as Holly’s
Published: 08/06/2009 12:12:01