Man behind the Breakfast bar

It may seem surprising that, as a member of the cast of the stage version of Breakfast at Tiffany's, Victor McGuire has never seen the iconic 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn.

Thursday, 13th October 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 4:49 pm
Georgia May Foote, Victor McGuire and Mat Barber in Breakfast at Tiffany's

But then the character he is playing, barman Joe Bell, doesn’t appear on screen.

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a novella by Truman Capote and the film is very different,” he explains, “but the play is much closer to it.”

And it is a play, not a musical, although there are a couple of songs – including the famous Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini number Moon River which was an Oscar-winner and went on to be a hit for Andy Williams and was subsequently recorded by more than 500 artists.

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Audrey Hepburn singing with a guitar on the fire escape of a New York apartment became the enduring image of the kooky charm of the central character, Holly Golightly.

In the play, adapted by award-winning American playwright Richard Greenberg and directed by Nikolai Foster, Holly is played by Strictly star Georgia May Foote and her story is told through the eyes of a young writer, Fred (Matt Barber, Atticus Aldridge from Downton).

Holly is an exquisite extrovert whom every woman wants to be and every man wants to be with – but with somewhat dubious morals.

“She was a goodtime girl and would go out with men in order to pay the rent,” continues McGuire.

“There are a good many interpretations that you might like to put on that but it is glossed over in the film. That’s how the book is so different.

“It’s a love story between Holly and Fred in the film. In the play Fred is in love but he is gay.

“Was Truman Capote writing about himself? The story is full of characters he knew and is set in the Forties rather than the Sixties.

“I tend the bar underneath the apartment where Holly and Fred live and it becomes a meeting spot for them.”

Liverpudlian McGuire, who was also in Breakfast at Tiffany’s West End run starring Pixie Lott, has played plenty of Americans in his time, from a cop in Brian de Palma move The Black Dahlia to Amos Hart in Chicago in the West End.

His musicals experience also includes playing Lazar Wolf in the Crucible production of Fiddler on the Roof which transferred from Sheffield to London. But he is probably best known from TV sitcoms such as Bread, Trollied, and Sean’s Show.

So what does he get recognised most for these days? “It’s for different things and it tends to be dependent on people’s ages. The older ones remember Bread and then from later in the Nineties, Goodnight Sweetheart, which we recently revived.

“Then the thirtysomethings associate me with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in which I was Gary the burglar in a frizzy perm. It was the cult film from their youth.

l Breakfast at Tiffany’s is at the Lyceum Theatre from Tuesday to Saturday.