It's 17th century London. Ned Kynaston (played by Billy Crudup) is at the top of his craft, for his portrayal of the great heroines of the English stage. Women are forbidden by law to act but Ned's dresser, Maria (Claire Danes) hides a secret passion to play the roles Ned has become famous for. Rupert Everett is Charles ll, whose saucy mistress Nell, (Zoe Tapper) is also stage struck. She convinces the King to change the law, and suddenly Maria - who has been performing secretly - can now act on the legitimate stage. Ned - no longer able to ply his trade - is coaxed into teaching her to play the role of of Desdemona. The film's impeccable costume and stage design brings 17th century England to life. Everett's hammy King Charles doesn't seem out of place and is certainly balanced by the eloquent performances of Danes and Crudup. Part thriller, drama and comedy, Stage Beauty delivers an often hilarious look at sexual identity and its part in the evolution of English theater.
Watch 'Stage Beauty'
Thursday 26 November, 7:30pm on SBS World Movies (streaming after at SBS On Demand)
Director: Richard Eyre
Starring: Claire Danes, Billy Crudup, Tom Wilkinson, Rupert Everett, Zoe Tapper