There is a carnival of talent in Tipping the Velvet. It is a fiction about making yourself up. Laura Wade — now most famous for her Bullingdon-basher Posh — brings political edge as well as stage-tested flourish to the task of adaptation. Lyndsey Turner is — as PoshChimerica and her Cumberbatch Hamlet proved — a director of whirling effects.
The with a dominatrix becomes a velvet on a trapeze for two entwined women. David Cardy comes on as sex MC, caustic and jaunty with top hat and gavel.
In a lovely touch at the end, he hands his gavel over to our heroine, watching his power wane like a downmarket Prospero. Sally Messham makes a glowing debut as Nan. For all the gaudy touches, this Tipping is not a really radical staging.
The hullabaloo is on the outside. The love and the politics are insufficiently ardent.
The sex is not raunchy enough. The act is pallid compared to the real carla brown latex hall cavortings.
Laura Rogers, as a musical artiste, has allure but tipping much politeness.
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