Sunday 25 February 2018

Rookie Pixie shines bright as iconic good-time girl for a new generation

Theatre: Breakfast at Tiffany's, Bord Gais Theatre, Dublin

Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly
Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly

Truman Capote's 1958 novella is best known for the hit film starring Audrey Hepburn with its 1960s setting. In this stage adaptation by Richard Greenberg, the action is profitably restored to New York during WW2.

The show is narrated by Fred, a writer and neighbour of Holly Golightly, the iconic good-time girl who has made an art out of living on her femininity. The adaptation struggles with the episodic nature of its novella source material, though director Nikolai Foster makes Trojan efforts to keep the action tight.

Matthew Wright's set design is inventive: two interior levels of an apartment building are flown in; a fire escape adds elevated platforms; doors appear and disappear and there are dramatic backdrops of New York City.

Matt Barber as Fred is terrific. He moves from a besotted callow innocence, through indulging a writerly nasty streak, to a form of pure love. The relationship between Fred and Holly is complicated; there is love but no proper love affair. It is this complexity that gives the story depth.

Pixie Lott is beguiling as Holly Golightly. She has three songs, which she does splendidly. Her lack of acting experience shows in her speaking voice projection, which you have to strain to hear at times. But her fans won't be disappointed; she is plenty lovable.

Town is Dead

Peacock Thatre, Dublin

The building that houses elder citizen Ellen's inner city flat has been sold to a developer. She must move into her snooty sister's spare room in Lucan and is packing her life into boxes. The story unfolds over an afternoon and evening as she receives a number of visitors: her pregnant upstairs neighbour, her son, and an unknown girl from Birmingham.

Writer/director Phillip McMahon's choice of title is a puzzle; it suggests the play will be about Dublin, but most of the drama has occurred in the past in Birmingham, and therein lies the problem.

Raymond Scannell's composition, for keyboard, clarinet and harp, is sweet-toned and delightful, but it simply can't counteract the overly narrative storytelling.

Having Ellen's son Will on stage could have brought the action into the present, but he has little emotional engagement or interaction. A strange misfire.

Paul O'Mahony's clever set deploys dynamic angles to create a sense of breadth in the space. Barbara Brennan plays difficult old Ellen with cranky relish, earning sympathy and hitting plenty of laughs.

Kate Gilmore, a hatching star, delivers a fantastic performance as the pregnant Katarina, both funny and emotional; she has the best musical item with 'I Know All About Hell'. But this too is strangely dramatically detached, as what she sings/tells is the story of her own troubled past and is unrelated to what we've had before.

- Katy Hayes

Pop: Chris Brown

3Arena, Dublin

Brown graces us with his presence 15 minutes late for an abysmally dull show of auto-tuned vocals and watery rapping. He appears to contribute precious little in terms of live vocals.

He drops some human beat-boxing at the end of 'Drunk Texting', but any aspiring rapper in their bedroom with a bit of flow could do better. Given his previous, some of his lyrics are at best questionable and ill-advised, and at worst, deeply disturbing.

"If by chance you're laying next to someone else right now I hope it's the worst sex ever," he raps at the end of the aforementioned song. Rap is often misogynistic, and coming from Brown, this is utterly despicable.

The lack of any fuss over this appearance seems to indicate people have very short memories, or simply don't care, about his vicious assault on ex-girlfriend Rihanna. But putting that firmly to one side, Chris Brown now specialises in musical crimes; phoning in a vacuous and uninspiring show that amounts to little more than a personal appearance.

- Eamon Sweeney

Irish Independent

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