If you thought the bloodthirsty Jacobean tragedy, The Changeling, could not be made any more shocking, you haven’t read this version, written by the man Ian Rankin called ‘The Godfather of British Noir’. James cuts to the quick – and in doing so cuts some of the more old-fashioned coincidences, cuts all the speeches, a good deal of the poetry and some of the minor characters, and concentrates instead on the gripping plot and its three main characters (middle aged husband, his young bride, and their wicked servant). From the original play he leaves in the saucy maid, the rival boyfriend and the awful secret, along with Middleton’s outrageous sexual premise, and he serves his dish as fresh and hot as was the original Jacobean play.
The year is 1834 and J.M.W. Turner is sketching Parliament burn. Unnoticed, a hackney cab drives past, the passenger’s destination is a dark alley in London, home to a notorious baby farmer – where he abandons an innocent baby girl. Because of him, she will end up on the Victorian stage and at the mercy of men. She will trust nobody. Another child…
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