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Dramatised from Sarah Waters' acclaimed debut novel, "Tipping the Velvet" tells the story of Nancy Astley (Rachael Stirling), a young girl who works as cook and waitress in her Father's seaside restaurant - that is until she witnesses the extraordinary performance of a new-to-town male impersonator - Kitty Butler (Keeley Hawes) - and begins to undergo a complete life transformation. Suddenly whipped up - and quickly flung down - by her love affair with Kitty, she experiences both euphoria and deep disillusion as she embarks on a seven-year journey of self-discovery - finally realizing that a life of sensation just isn't enough. Written by
It is surprising that a production like this gets made these days, especially for television. Considering the strong sexual themes and explicit lovemaking scenes, not to mention lesbianism, this has been given superb treatment and direction.
The sets and costumes are flawless, the direction is stylish and the characters are likeable. There is a fair amount of humor but it has surprisingly dark interludes. The protagonist is really a tragic figure, but not devoid of happiness. Also, this production avoids the mistake most films/shows make when dealing with homosexuality/lesbianism. The characters are very human. It seems that to allow people to be comfortable with watching gays and lesbians on TV and movies most shows fill it full of cliches and make the characters obsessed with being gay. Not so with this. In Tipping the Velvet, the protagonist is hardly aware of what being lesbian means!
The BBC have made some wonderful productions in the past, and this adventurous period piece only confirms their standard of excellence on all fronts.
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