30 Sep 2009
Anna Friel has a haunted look after Breakfast At Tiffany's first-night fright
By Richard Simpson
If Anna Friel was more than a little nervous for her official West End debut as Holly Golightly in Breakfast At Tiffany's last night, there may be an explanation.
For Anna - who strips for the new stage adaptation of the role made famous by Audrey Hepburn - has confided to friends she believes there is a ghost haunting the Theatre Royal Haymarket
'Anna has told pals in the production team she feels she is being observed and followed to the wings by people that she cannot see,' a friend told the Daily Mail's Richard Kay.
'She has even joked it could be Truman Capote [the story's late author]. But she is not scared as the atmosphere is warm and not at all unnerving.
Retro look: Anna Friel leaves London's Haymarket Theatre last night in a vintage cream satin gown
In fact, she said it was quite nice to have the support.'
Fellow thespian Patrick Stewart says he too saw an apparition while starring in Waiting For Godot at the same theatre in August.
But Friel put the ghostly goings-on firmly behind her to dazzle on stage on 'opening night' - and then repeated the feat in a vintage ivory frock at the afterparty.
The floor-length satin gown, with lace-trimmed capped sleeves, follows a week of knock-out retro glam outfits she has worn when leaving the dressing room after performances but clearly she had saved the best for last.
Putting on a show: Anna says she likes to give the waiting paparazzi their money's worth
Anna admitted in a recent interview she kept a stack of heels and hats in her room at the Theatre Royal to keep fans and the paparazzi entertained.
She said: 'Now the paps are hanging around the stage door every night I like to put them on to leave the theatre.'
The Pushing Daisies star has admitted to being a huge fan of vintage clothing.
Happy as the proverbial: Anna has said she loves vintage shopping
She enthused: 'I'm as happy as a pig in s**t in a vintage store.'
The former Brookside star certainly has no trouble getting into the elegant numbers - she has undertaken a tough new fitness routine for the role.
Speaking at the Haymarket Hotel last night, which was the venue of the play’s press night after-party, she told us she’s been going to the gym five or six times a week.
Fashion figure: Anna looking sleek in a black dress, white blouse and trilby hat
Vintage vixen: Anna going for the retro look as she leaves the Theatre Royal earlier this month
Anna said: 'The Forties age was not one of slouching and you have to learn all of that - the way to talk, the way you move. It feels special for me. I’m loving it.
'There’s not that many brilliant roles for women so it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to play Holly.
'She is a great female part.'
Champagne? Anna gets a well earned glass of champers at the afterparty for 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' at the Haymarket Hotel
The new production is adapted from Truman Capote's novella, which was set in the Forties - unlike the Audrey Hepburn movie, which was set in the Sixties.
Anna has been keen to distance herself from Hepburn's portrayal of Golightly and warns theatre-goers not to expect a stage version of the 1961 film.
She said: 'One of the scary things at first for me was thinking “Gosh! People will assume they’re coming to see an Audrey Hepburn impression" and that won’t be happening.
Acting duo: Anna with partner David Thewlis at the afetr-party for the play
Celebrity fans: Cilla Black and Ruby Wax were in the first night audience
‘The film was set in 1960, so straight away we’re going to look different in terms of clothes and hairstyle.’
Anna stars alongside Gimme Gimme Gimme star James Dreyfuss, who plays OJ Berman, Joseph Cross (William 'Fred' Parsons), John Ramm (Doc Golightly) and James Bradshaw (Rusty Trawler).
Take a bow: Anna takes centre stage at the curtain call alongside castmates Suzanne Berthis, Joseph Cross, James Dreyfus and David Phelan
Adorable Anna, the tease who is simply irresistible
By QUENTIN LETTS
On stage: Anna gets into character as Holly Golightly in Breakfast At Tiffany's
Anna Friel is disconcertingly adorable as Holly Golightly. I say 'disconcertingly' because Holly is such a fluff-ball with her butterfly brain and lashes. She embodies everything we can not have, the tease, the brittle splinter who pierces our heart.
If sensible, we would have nothing to do with this criminally-inclined fantasist. Miss Friel, to her credit, makes that impossible.
The show is making a great deal of noise about how it is returning to the spirit of Truman Capote's story rather than the celebrated film. Happily, this is not so. There are plenty of echoes of the film.
Shallow souls will derive excitement from the fact that beautiful Miss Friel appears in her birthday suit during one scene (book a seat in the gods for a view of her derriere, by the way) but the skill of her performance is that she clothes Holly with all the layers of fiction that force her to lead a transitory life.
Holly is a rootless Zuleika Dobson, forever escaping her past, failing to find continuity. It requires onion layers of coquettishness to keep us interested in this 'real phoney'.
The staging takes a while to settle down. There are two horrible, white, metal staircases which give the thing a sterile quality.
Anthony Ward's design is gimmicky and unromantic.
Joseph Cross is underpowered in the early scenes as William, the writer who falls in love with Holly.
Nude look: Anna laid bare as she goes nude to play Holly Golightly in the stage version of the famous film
Mr Cross slowly grew on me at last night's opening and both he and Miss Frield deserve a medal for ignoring a fidgety audience seemingly peopled by consumptives.
James Dreyfus does a good turn as Holly's agent friend O.J. Berman and Dermot Crowly has his moments as a soft-hearted barman.
The production also includes the tallest actress I have seen, one Gwendoline Christie, who plays a society friend of Holly but may well have been pressed into service as a lighting ladder during the technical rehearsals.
Breakfast At Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote, is at the Theatre Royal Haymarket
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1216832/Anna-Friels-stunning-satin-gown-cream-vintage-crop-Breakfast-Tiffanys-night.html#ixzz0Sc1pNCLG