Wether you have seen the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s or not, the iconic image of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly is one most people are familiar with. From the classic black dress, chic pearls and timeless undo, Hepburn’s presence is so vibrant you feel an affinity with the character she portrays. The story of Breakfast at Tiffany’s started out as a novella by Truman Capote before being adapted for the big screen, and now it has been given a new lease of life on the stage in a performance adapted by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony and Olivier Award-winning playwright Richard Greenberg and directed by Nikolai Foster.
On Tuesday, I was lucky to be invited as a guest of American Holidays to a Breakfast at Tiffany’s media evening. The night started out with pre-show dinner and drinks at the Fitzwilliam Hotel Restaurant. When I arrived, I was welcomed by Siobhan O Sullivan, director of sales and marketing at the Fitzwilliam, as well as Sarah Jayne Miskelly, press and marketing officer at the Grand Opera House. With a glass of ice cold bubbly in hand, I got the chance to speak to catch up with my fellow theatre goers, including the lovely Karen Sheals Hoy of American Holidays, before we were invited to take a seat for dinner. I haven’t been to the restaurant at the Fitzwilliam before, and I was more than impressed by its stylish interiors. With sweeping red chairs matched with a rich wooden decor, the overall effect is simply stunning. The restaurant was buzzing as old friends caught up and new acquaintances were made. I was seated with a fantastic mix of peers including; journalist Anne Hailes, Northern Woman’s Eileen Doherty and the Daily Mirror and Belfast Live’s Zoe Watson. The topic of conversation naturally went to the food. I opted for the slow cooked loin of Irish beef, ballotine of ox cheek served with truffled mash potato, buttered spinach, celeriac puree and a red wine sauce. The presentation was wonderful and the taste was divine. When it came to pudding I felt incredibly spoilt with an assiette of miniature desserts including; mini lemon tart, salt caramel gateau opera and warm chocolate brownie – each bite sized treat was heavenly.
After our appetites were well and truly satiated, it was time to head next door to the Grand Opera House to see Richard Greenberg’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s come to life on stage. I love the Grand Opera House, the interior is a magnificent feat of architecture which still impresses me every time I step inside the auditorium. As we nestled in our seats, there was a murmur of excitement from the crowd. For those who don’t know, Breakfast at Tiffany’s tells the tale of vivacious, good-time girl Holly Golightly and her fantastical existence in 1940s New York City. We see Holly through the eyes of her neighbour, a young writer who is completely fascinated by this exquisite extrovert who every woman wants to be, and every man wants to be with.
In this production, Holly Golightly was played by Georgia May Foote, of Coronation Street and Strictly Come Dancing fame, whilst Fred, her would be suitor, was played by Matt Barber. Georgia May Foote captured the whimsical aura of Holly perfectly, whilst also giving the character an air of fragility. If you thought Georgia May couldn’t be more talented, you are wrong: as well as dancing and acting, her musical numbers were superb and utterly captivating. Matt Barber was also a delight to watch. He delivered an a captivating dramatic performance which was interspersed with fantastic comedic touches. I really enjoyed the fact that the supporting cast, whilst with fewer lines, made sure that each one mattered and had an impact, showing the professional and caliber of each and every actor. It would also be remise of me not to mention ‘Cat’. Holly Golightly takes in a stray cat, which was played by Bob, a real life stage cat whose performance evoked ‘oohs’ and ‘aawws’ from the audience, myself included.
After the play, we had one last treat in store for us: a post drink reception in the Baby Grand and a meet and greet with the cast. Georgia May Foote and Matt Barber were gorgeous and charming in real life and graciously agreed to photographs with us, whilst the rest of the cast were happy to work the room and chat away with us. The super talented, dapper and witty David Cardy, who played the role of OJ Berman and Dr Goldman, enjoyed a drink with us and asked for tips of where to visit whilst in Belfast.
As the curtain closed on our night, I can honestly say I had a fantastic evening. The Fitzwilliam, as well as offering exceptional food and service, is ideally located to the Grand Opera House to ensure it is the perfect spot to start a night at the theatre. The Grand Opera House itself is a venue that I thoroughly recommend visiting if you haven’t been before. It is one of the most unique buildings in Belfast and it attracts some of the top stage attractions, such as the entertaining Breakfast at Tiffany’s. So for a bit of fine dining and culture, Belfast really does have it all. A huge thank you to American Holidays, the Fitzwilliam and the Grand Opera for the perfect Tuesday Treat.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s runs until Saturday 5th November 2016. For tickets and more information visit: on https://www.goh.co.uk
Above: David Cardy with Kellie Burch.