As Tipping the Velvet opens at the Lyric Hammersmith, new production images for the world première of Laura Wade’s adaptation of Sarah Waters’ best selling novel have been released.

TIPPING THE VELVET by Waters,    , Writer - Sarah Waters adapted by Laura Wade, Director - Lyndsey Turner, Design - Lizzie Clachan, Lighting - Jon Clark, The Lyric Theatre, 2015, Credit: Johan Persson/
Laura Rogers playing Kitty Butler .Credit: Johan Persson/

Set in 1887, the story begins as Nancy Astley sits in the audience at her local music hall, unaware that the next act who appears on stage will change her life. Tonight she will fall in love with the thrill of the stage and with Kitty Butler – a girl who wears trousers. The girls travel to London where a number of unimaginable adventures happen.

TIPPING THE VELVET by Waters,    , Writer - Sarah Waters adapted by Laura Wade, Director - Lyndsey Turner, Design - Lizzie Clachan, Lighting - Jon Clark, The Lyric Theatre, 2015, Credit: Johan Persson/
Sally Messham playing Nancy Astley .Credit: Johan Persson.

Directed by Lyndsey Turner, whose previous credits include the hit production of Chimerica for the Almeida Theatre and the West End, brings an extraordinary love story to life for audiences.

The reviews have been coming in thick and fast for the show, here is a round-up of the ones released so far:

The TelegraphDominic Cavendish said: “It’s pleasing as far it goes, but the lush interiority of Waters’s prose is nowhere apparent.” (***)

The Stage:  Natasha Tripney found it to be: “An inventive and playful, if frustratingly bitty, reworking of Sarah Waters’ iconic novel.”  (***)

The Guardian:  Michael Billington commented that: “It all makes for a good night out that offers a rousing tribute to feminist principles”. (***)

The Arts DeskMarianka Swain felt that “Judicious editing would help tighten a sprawling, near-three-hour show, but there is mischief and vivacity aplenty in this affectionately anarchic reading”. (***)

TIPPING THE VELVET by Waters,    , Writer - Sarah Waters adapted by Laura Wade, Director - Lyndsey Turner, Design - Lizzie Clachan, Lighting - Jon Clark, The Lyric Theatre, 2015, Credit: Johan Persson/
Sally Messham & Laura Rogers. Credit: Johan Persson.

Broadwayworld.comTom Cox summed the show up by saying: ” The story of Nancy is well worth telling and Turner’s imaginative direction is the final trick to make this variety act of a play a shoo-in success.”

Whats On Stage:  Michael Coveney found that: “Wade’s script is a fleet and skilful distillation of dialogue and narrative chronology. If anything, it’s far too faithful to the original, not wild enough in content or structure.” (***)

British Theatre Guide:  Philip Fisher felt that “despite the sterling efforts of all concerned with a highly imaginative production, due to its rather formulaic underlying plot, Tipping the Velvet somehow fails to move as it should.”

Time Out:   Andrzej Lukowski said: “even at its best there’s the nagging sense it lacks emotional depth.” (***)

Tipping the Velvet is on at the Lyric Hammersmith until the 24th October. 

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