holly top 

Malvern Theatres

****

TRUMAN Capote’s heroine, Holly Golightly, is a tortured and lost soul who is trying to find herself in a world of alienation, prostitution and criminality. She has run away from her husband, she is emotionally needy and leading a totally superficial glitzy life in the big city. She is exploited by various men, she gets entangled with criminal gangs and the drug culture and she is totally out of her depth.

The struggles Holly undergoes begin eventually to evoke a limited amount of sympathy from us as an audience, but this is indeed limited because of her superficiality and silliness. In fact if the story suffers it is because the plot is limited and there are no characters with whom we really identify strongly.

One of the problems facing a playwright who is trying to dramatise a novel or indeed a film for the theatre is that the theatre is not able to provide us with multiple locations and settings so easily. Consequently the designer has produced a truly impressive array of sets that fly in from above and roll in and out from either side with great slickness and frequency.

However these snappy changes do not help us to identify so strongly with the characters, neither do the characters provide us with a great deal of light humour. Because of these factors the play struggles to work effectively as a theatrical piece, despite the fact that there are some very impressive features to the show.

The use of lighting and costume are of a particularly high order and complement the set design in making a strong visual impact. There is a whole range of effects – spotlights, silhouettes and atmospheric scenes; the simplicity of three or four reporters writing reports in their pads is brought alive by the lighting design and their costumes.

Bob the Cat added charm to the evening, popping in and out on several occasions with remarkably apt discipline!

The blonde and curly-locked Holly is strikingly unlike the girl in the poster who has long, straight and black hair. Her singing was delightful, her diction occasionally lacked clarity. The characterisations of all the cast were strong, clear and sharp, the acting was generally of a high order throughout the play.

Overall however this was disappointing evening, not because the direction, the acting or the design could have been bettered. It was simply that we were not massively amused or emotionally engaged. We are presented with a superficial and glitzy world where Holly has to put on makeup to read a letter, where the lostness of the characters does not move us profoundly and where we are left with a sense that this made a better novel or film than it does a theatrical piece. To 12-10-16

Timothy Crow

11-10-16 

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