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by Steven LaVigne
The warm weather has theater of interest for the local GLBT community blooming soon. This winter, however, there were slim pickings. So, we go to London for the first review.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
London is famous for its rainy weather, so it was appropriate that it was raining the day I saw the matinee of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” at the Haymarket Theatre. The opening scene showed people scurrying past the window of the famous jewelry store on a rainy day. Some of the audience (and reviewers) were disappointed, but gay playwright Samuel Adamson’s adaptation wasn’t a stage version of the popular movie. This brought Truman Capote’s original 1958 short story, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” to life, under fine and creative direction of gay director Sean Mathias.
Set in 1943, “Breakfast” is a pseudo memoir of William Parsons, a gay writer (based on Capote), whose first book has brought him success. He stops into Joe Bell’s bar, and the two reminisce about their relationship with the free-spirited Holly Golightly, who has disappeared from their lives, but may be the woman in a blurry newspaper photograph. With a cast that included Joseph Cross as Parsons, Gwendoline Christie as Mag Wildwood, John Ramm as Doc Golightly, and gay actor James Dreyfus (Absolutely Fabulous, Bette) as producer O. J. Berman, the production was a sparkling sensation.
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is a love story of sorts, as Parsons describes his time living in the same Greenwich Village apartment building as Holly. As their friendship grows, set against the background of New York City, we learn that Holly’s landlady thinks Holly is a call girl. She’s really a woman of play. She innocently passes secrets to a gangster named Sally Tomato, who is imprisoned at Sing-Sing, and rejects the common-law husband she’s left behind with the remainder of her past.
Adamson’s script and Mathias’ direction are quite faithful to Capote, and they manage to include individual nude scenes for their stars. It was Anna Friel’s performance as Holly Golightly that carried the show. Not only did she deliver an extraordinary star turn, but she led the audience through a lovely rainy afternoon in the theater.
The play’s future is undetermined, but this stage Breakfast at Tiffany’s is worthy of future productions.
Minneapolis Musical Theatre
The Minneapolis Musical Theatre is, for all practical purposes, a gay theatre ensemble, and their current season ends with “Mame” during Gay Pride Month. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing a production where “Mame” is played in drag.
You Should Be So Lucky
Meanwhile, The Brazen Theatre, directed by Mark Hooker, aka Margo Caprice, began production this year at the Minnehaha United Church of Christ. The first season is devoted to the work of gay playwright and drag icon, Charles Busch. I missed their production of “Die! Mommie! Die,” but their second show, the Area Premiere of “You Should Be So Lucky,” was delightful.
Directed by Hooker, the script is a Cinderella story about Christopher, a shy electrologist who inherits a bundle from a late client, was fast-moving and funny. A kind soul, Christopher helps a man in the street who becomes his fairy godfather. His ghost keeps interrupting Christopher’s life, using his money so that Christopher can attend a fancy reception at an up-scale hotel where he meets a charming young man with whom he falls in love.
While Hooker kept the evening going at a fast pace, the script itself is a little too slight for a full evening (it could be trimmed to a long one-act and be more effective.) Because of the ghost character, it frequently resembles (the very gay) Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit,” but the cast was having a great time, with standout performances from Eric Cohen as Christopher and John Egan as Mr. Rosenberg.
The Brazen Theatre follows this charmer with Busch’s “Shanghai Moon,” starring Margo Caprice.