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RANT: ​Theatrical adaptations

Regulars | January 2018


Quentin Letts on the West End's failure to adapt films to the stage

Some years ago, we were spattered by in-yer-face plays featuring sweary, thirtysomething urbanites. Then came a fashion for jukebox shows, reheating 1960s hits. The latest craze has been for adapting films and novels. Adaptations are opportunistic cop-outs, an admission by producers that they are scared of the classics or that they don’t know playwrights with anything fresh to say. At present in the West End, Natalie Dormer and David Oakes are flogging their way through a navel-gazer called Venus in Fur. This adapts a novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, an oddball who lent his name to masochism – a taste for self-flagellation may certainly help you endure it. Sexual power games might have been go-ahead in 1870s Vienna but today they seem a bit Harvey Weinstein.  An earnest version of The Kite Runner has been tootling round the provincial circuit (Leeds/Cambridge/Cheltenham etc). Khaled Hosseini’s romantic 2003 novel, set mainly in...

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