We’re being joined in our theatre this week by the multi-talented Pixie Lott. Although she’s best known as a singer, she’s also a successful Strictly Come Dancing contestant, and is now turning her hand to acting, appearing in a new adaptation of Breakfast At Tiffanys.
Tell us about the new stage version of Breakfast At Tiffany’s…
It’s staying true to the original story that Truman Capote wrote, so it is set in the 1940s. The play still has all the amazing characters and stories from the film, the different characters that make up New York, but this isn’t the film brought to life on stage. The movie was set in the 60s, so the era alone makes it quite different. I haven’t actually watched the movie again since I knew I was doing the play because I didn’t want to get too caught up in it.
How does it feel to be playing such an iconic character as Holly Golightly?
I feel really lucky because it is such an amazing role to take on for my first play. I adore Holly. She is extremely free-spirited and has lots of energy, but when needs be, she is also very direct and can tell people how it is. She has a secret past, but she’s a survivor and she makes it through.
Do you feel the pressure is on because Holly is such a well-loved character?
To an extent, but because the play is based on the book and not a complete copy of the movie, the pressure is off slightly because I can’t be completely compared to Audrey Hepburn, who was obviously amazing. Hopefully people will see I’ve created my own interpretation and brought my own personality to the role.
Some might say this is quite a departure for you as you are best known for your music…
Well, I have always believed in being as rounded as a performer as possible. Music is my first love and passion, but I love acting as well. I think it’s really cool to go outside your comfort zone and push yourself as a performer. I did that when I took part in Strictly Come Dancing [in 2014] where I had to learn ballroom and Latin from scratch, which I really loved. I am continuing to write music at every opportunity I can – I will hopefully have my new record ready towards the end of the year, with maybe a little teaser in the summer – but this year it’s been really amazing to focus on acting. Beforehand, I had only done titbits here and there, but now I can focus on a proper, wonderful character whom I get to play every night.
Did you have the classic Breakfast At Tiffany’s Audrey poster when you were growing up?
[Laughs] I actually have it as a coaster for my cup of tea next to my bed. I’ve had it there for ages, long before I won the role. I only realised that the other day. It was obviously meant to be!
Are you like Holly in any way?
We’re both really forgetful, she lives at apartment number 2 and my flat is number 2, and we’re both short-sighted. She also likes fashion, I like fashion, and I’d say I’m pretty free-spirited and I love travelling as she does too. So there are a few things that make us quite similar.
Does it concern you that audiences will be making comparisons with Audrey, as that is the Holly they know best?
Like I said, I don’t think the play can be compared to the movie. It’s the same when I perform covers of songs by Kings of Leon or The Killers that I put up on YouTube. I always say I can never compete with the original because it’s always going to be the best. I always do my own interpretation and make it completely my own, and then it stands on its own rather than being compared. I feel like this is the same sort of thing.
The song Moon River is obviously hugely associated with the story – how does it feel to be performing such a classic song?
It’s a timeless song and a dream to sing. And I’m pleased that I get to sing a little in the show. There’s always pressure, but I’ve got to focus on enjoying myself. In previous experiences of performing, as long as I enjoy myself it helps the audience enjoy themselves, and that’s what it’s all about.
You learned to play guitar especially for the role – what was that like?
I’ve always wanted to learn to play the guitar, so really the play has given me the perfect excuse, and I can keep it up afterwards and use it to write songs. It’s hard though! The guitar’s really, really hard! But I’ve been practising a lot. It appears in an intimate moment for Holly, so I’m sort of playing it to myself, rather than turning into a big old musical song and dance. It sits well in the play.
The play is touring before it moves to the West End – you must have packing for the road down to perfection?
Unfortunately, I still haven’t learnt how to travel light. I just shove all I can fit into a case, and it’s always so heavy. I’m really excited about the tour though because it’s good to see the different audience reaction in each city. I guess Canterbury is closest to my family because it’s in Kent where I grew up. And, of course, I am super-excited to be performing at the Haymarket in London. This will be the longest I’ve been in each location, so I will have a little bit of time to explore them and get to know them a bit better.
What can we expect to find in your dressing room – will it be as chaotic as Holly’s apartment?
I’m a really messy person! I guess there’ll just be loads of make-up and maybe a candle and some pictures of the era to help me get into character. So it will probably be fairly chaotic. I’ll say it’s part of the character and blame it on Holly.
What will surprise audiences most about the play?
Probably that it is not exactly like the film, and it’s also quite a rollercoaster of emotions. Most of the time it’s very high-energy and then there are times when it can move you. It covers all areas. It’s surprising that even though it was written in the 40s, so long ago, Truman Capote’s story is still so relevant and ahead of its time. I guess that’s what makes it such a modern classic.
How would you sum the play up in a few words?
Exciting, moving… and fun!