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Tipping the Velvet

Tipping the Velvet

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Tipping the Velvet, The book is a must read, just as much this adaptation of it being a must see. The mini-series is remarkably true to the book, even with some changes and trimmings like Florence being not as forthright as in the book and the Kitty’s crisis after she’s heckled during a performance being (somewhat unwisely) skipped, but they don’t hinder things at all. Tipping the Velvet(2002) stands fabulously on its own and has so much to recommend, you don’t even need to read the book to love this mini-series. The production values are both beautiful and vivid, the costumes, hair and make-up positively take you back to the 1980s, the parlours are opulent, the seaside nostalgic and it is in the music hall moments where the mini-series is most vivid. The photography is just as lush with occasional moments of overblown editing. The music has a haunting undercurrent as well as understated beauty and swelling richness, anyone familiar with music hall music will be delighted at the selection chosen. The script is compact and concise, all the essentials are there and even with the trimmings have their full impact. You are really taken to the Victorian London world, with the contradictions(some quirky, some not), views and beliefs and social class differences. The sex scenes are explicit but also splendidly sensual, and the mini-series shows a lot of depth to characterisation with no signs of cliché or misogyny(considering what Tipping the Velvet is about there was a danger of that). You certainly do fully believe the relationships and chemistry between the characters(like with Nan and Kitty rehearsing together), and the gender politics explored here and in the book are truthful and subtle. The story is funny, poignant and thrilling in equal measure(particularly the final episode), all three episodes beautifully paced, slightly slow start but picks up very quickly. Rachael Stirling gives a stunningly powerful performance, that covers all sensualities and nuanced emotions of Nan’s character and Keeley Hawes has never been more intoxicating than here. Anna Chancellor is imperiously scary while Jodhi May approaches Florence with real grace without falling into too-good-to-be-true category. In conclusion, fabulous and not one to ignore or forget

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