Prick Up Your Ears / Breakfast At Tiffany's
Various venues
September / October, 2009

I’ve often remarked on the phenomenon whereby supposedly major West End productions close before we have the chance to reprint their reviews, but a much sadder analogue of that event has occurred in this issue.  By the time you read the reviews of Prick Up Your Ears, Matt Lucas has left the role of Kenneth Halliwell.  Bill Hagerty had time to note and explain this in his Sun review: Lucas, playing the role of a man who murdered his lover Joe Orton and then committed suicide, was distressed following the suicide of his own former civil partner Kevin McGee.  It’s difficult to remark on this connection without seeming ghoulish.


Lucas’s departure is unfortunate not just on the level of his personal life, but because he was making a fine fist of his dramatic role.  Well, it’s obvious from the reviews that opinions differ on this score, but I am in the positive camp.  [Subsequent comments cannibalised from Financial Times review.]

Not even Anna Friel in the buff could thrill me during Breakfast At Tiffany’s, to the extent that I actually left at the interval.  It’s not a bad play or production as such, just a terribly dull one which I didn’t think likely to show me anything in the second half that I hadn’t already seen.  (I’m speaking dramatically, not anatomically.)  The pedant in me had already noted the presence of a Japanese-Californian character curiously uninterned in 1943; of Holly Golightly soulfully singing “In The Pines” a year before even the blues giant Leadbelly recorded it and practically half a century before any of us heard it, as covered by Nirvana; and most dispiritingly, a number of tea-chests in the stage set conspicuously stencilled “Belfast via Felixstowe”, which must have gone well astray to have made it to New York.

Though perhaps not as far astray as Tim Walker when he speculates that the Old Vic’s production of Inherit The Wind is unlikely to make it to Broadway because of the strength of fundamentalist and creationist views in the U.S.  A more probable reason is the fact that it’s barely been two years since the play’s last Broadway outing.

Written for Theatre Record.

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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