Time Out says
Director Eyre indulges all manner of actorly foo-faw and thickly sliced exposition, as when a seedy theatre manager paws a nearby breast and growls, ‘It’s illegal to have these onstage’. Such straight-talking exigency only lays groundwork for ‘bawdy’ panto distractions like Chas’s bosomy Cockney mistress Nell Gwyn (Zoë Tapper) and Richard Griffiths’ lecherous powdered dandy, while Ben Chaplin (as Ned’s lover, the Duke of Buckingham) is conscripted to deliver one of the most soul-destroying lines of shite poetic dialogue in the history of the heritage drama. Most frustrating, ‘Stage Beauty’ fumbles XX/XY politics at every turn, from Maria and Nell’s anachronistic girl power outbursts to the bizarrely retrograde Kynaston character. Surely it can’t come as news to the filmmakers that a distinction exists between gender and sexuality?
Cast and crew