GUEST CRITIC LUKE JONES LIKES LOTT A LOT…
It’s easy to get worked up by celebrities and big names crowding out the talented-but-unknown usuals. ‘They’re just there to get bums on seats’, is the most common cry. But somewhere along the line we have to accept that these people – these stars – are some of the most charismatic people to ever walk the planet. And when the rock-star du jour is Pixie Lott – impossibly attractive, entrancingly charming and dramatically fluent… BOOK THEM BOOK THEM BOOK THEM. Slap up the billboards, pay they whatever they want, just get them behind that curtain in time.
What alchemy then, when the part waiting at the end of the red carpet is Breakfast at Tiffany’s Hollie Golightly (see descriptions above, impossibly attractive, entrancingly charming etc). She’s the mystery neighbour who we want to know everything about. It’s a perfect, heady mix. It’s not a classically tuned theatre performance, but that’s not what you want. Lott’s Golightly is emotionally versatile, seductive and youthfully talented. 5 stars.
Such a shame, then, that the rest of the production goes heavily. The superstar has shone so brightly across the stage, the rehearsal room and the desk of the producers, that the rest has been forgotten. Nikolai Foster’s production smells as if it started life as a musical. A shiny and glitzy number, which was forced to empty it’s pockets of songs as it walked across Haymarket.
Some tunes remain, and because Lott is an exceptionally talented singer they’re a joy. But the sheen of Broadway has translated into a needlessly mechanical and chunky set, which screams and whirs when moved, disco lighting which shines slutty, and incredibly irritating background music. It’s like seeing your favourite late-night bar with the big light on; good grief!
The cast too keep up to some speedy beat, despite their being none. They zip around and chatter, but lose all control and end up flat and cartoonish. Matt Barber (the frustrated neighbour Fred, our lost guide) is shrill and uncomfortably unfunny. Capote’s dry humour (direct narration carved out in chunks by the adapter, Richard Greenberg) goes stale in his mouth. The rest of the cast roll and rollerblade in and out of the stage aimlessly but achieve little. But when Lott gracefully walks in ,much of this seems to lift. You understand the infatuation the rest of the characters have for her. You see why they’re all turned to mush trying to understand her motivations and moves. But when you can’t see that glorious puzzle in front of you. You’re just left with the mush.Thank you, celebrity casting.
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