Theatre is in the very bones of this bold adaptation, with the Lyric gifted a cameo role: past productions are fleetingly pastiched in a flashback to the era of the venue’s foundation. Laura Wade and Lyndsey Turner translate the vividly immediate first-person narrative of Sarah Waters’ 1998 novel into a world coloured by the experience of their heroine, whose coming-of-age story is sparked by the stage: make-believe illuminating the truth of her sexual identity. Music hall vocabulary creates a stylistic framework for this episodic, picaresque tale, but there are too few glimpses behind the curtain in a show more dazzling than affecting.
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