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BN1 Chats to… Georgia May Foote

From book to film, many of you will have seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s most memorable and beloved adaptation in the 1961 film starring screen-siren Audrey Hepburn. Speaking to Foote, she tells me that the film is nothing like her version. “The play is actually an adaption of the book which is different from the film. It’s a lot darker and it’s a different time as well.” Set in the 1940s opposed to the film’s 1960s, the whole tone and era of the story will be less innocent.

The dazzlingly beautiful Holly Golightly continues to put every man she meets under her spell. Her end goal to marry rich, she’s making her way through each chap of wealth in the vicinity to maintain her lavish lifestyle of drinking, dining and being showered with luxurious gifts. But in this version she is more of an ‘American geisha’ than the sex worker that’s alluded to in the original novella. “It’s a really nice script and it’s got lots of twists and turns in it, a lot of emotion,” Foote tells me. It’s evident that this retelling of the classic story will require a box of tissues at the ready.

Despite Holly Golightly usually being synonymous with Audrey Hepburn, Foote is determined to make the character her own. “I’m not using Audrey as my kind of inspiration for the part, I’m using the book.” Although the style icon and role model lights up screens around the world, Foote explains that she wants to bring Holly to life in her own way. “It’s just making it your own, it’s finding the voice, finding the way she walks, the style, everything. It all comes together when we start working, which I can’t wait for.” But fear not Audrey lovers, as the famous Breakfast at Tiffany’s soundtracks are coming to the theatre as well, giving Foote another huge challenge to conquer. “The singing is terrifying me to be honest. But it’s nice because Holly’s songs are quite vulnerable and quite, you know, calm and they’re not like big belting songs. That’s my interpretation of them so it’s nice that I’m not having to go out there and kind of be massive. But I am excited at the same time.” And that’s not the only piece of homework Foote is assigned, as she’ll be swapping her Mancunian accent for one from Manhattan. It’s hard to believe whilst listening to her speak, though I’m sure she’ll nail it.

Rehearsals should be a walk in the park (well, maybe a light jog) though, as this actress is well versed in long days. On Strictly Come Dancing, Foote explains, “we used to start training at 10 and usually finish about 5 o’clock, so it means a long day of rehearsing really. Then I used to go to London on the Wednesday, still train on the Thursday and that’ll take you into the evening. Friday was rehearsal day in the studio and the Saturday was the show! It was a busy week for 3 months.” How she isn’t still tired I will never know, though it seems she is well set up for the task ahead.

Accents, dancing competitions and singing aside, this is a year of firsts as this will be Foote’s stage debut. The former Corrie star has grown up on TV screens around the UK. She’s no stranger to a large audience but the differences are left, right and centre. “[With theatre] you can’t have more goes at something: you’ve got it get it right the first time, you’ve got to be loud, you don’t rely on microphones like you do in television… it’s going to be a completely different experience.” Swapping a significant amount of cameras for a live audience, Foote goes on to say, “I’ve grown up in television and I know I absolutely love doing that so, this is a bit of a test really. I might come away like, ‘oh my god, I love theatre!’ so it’s going to be a bit strange and kind of everything I’ve learnt switched.”

She refuses to stop there. After Breakfast at Tiffany’s she’ll be going into rehearsals for a production of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show. Foote also has every intention of returning to her original craft as she cut her teeth in the living rooms of the nation. Though theatre is welcoming her with open arms, she tells me, “my heart’s in television, it’s where I grew up. It’s what I know, it’s what I love doing. I’ll definitely go back to TV.”

Breakfast at Tiffany’s comes to Theatre Royal Brighton from Tues 25 – Sat 29 Oct. For tickets head to www.atgtickets.com

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