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Alys, Always: A superbly disquieting psychological thriller

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Its promising premise – fleshed out by Lucinda Coxon, based on Harriet Lane’s debut novel of the same name – has an arc that never really takes off. Other work includes, as Co-founder and principal cellist of Parallax Orchestra, working in theatre, pop, rock and alternative music. Theatre includes, for The Bridge: A Christmas Carol, Beat the Devil, Talking Heads, A German Life and Alys, Always. Alys, Always is one of those books that the less you know about the plot coming into it, the better your reading experience of it will be.

Her second novel Her was selected for the Waterstones Book Club and shortlisted for the Encore Award for best second novel. Alys, Always is a gripping modern thriller, adapted by Lucinda Coxon from the bestselling novel by Harriet Lane. Theatre includes leading roles at numerous regional theatres, including The Innocents, The Heiress and The Deep Blue Sea for the Royal Northampton; The Rivals, Dear Antoine and The Stepmother at Chichester Festival Theatre; and The Family Reunion, The Importance of Being Earnest and Uncle Vanya for Manchester Royal Exchange. For Nicholas Hytner’s latest project at his own theatre he directs Alys, Always, Lucinda Coxon’s adaptation of Harriet Lane’s novel that plays out like a low-key ( very low-key) Talented Mr Ripley - a book that’s name-checked in the play itself. Some of the interpretations of the narrator felt different to my own, an inevitable consequence of audio books over reading from print.

Concerning, as it does, a young woman who works as a sub-editor in a publishing company and a Booker-winning novelist, there is always the chance that this was due to the reviewers merely recognizing the world that is portrayed.

When a unique opportunity presents itself, Frances hitches her wagon to a star and works it with zeal. Other theatre includes Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward, on UK tour and on Broadway; Disney’s Aida on Broadway; Disney’s Tarzan (which he also directed) on Broadway, in Germany and the Netherlands; The Year of Magical Thinking on Broadway and at the NT; The Coast of Utopia in New York; Carousel in New York; The Seagull at the Public Theatre New York; Paul Simon’s The Capeman, and The Sweet Smell of Success.This seductive novel is as sinuous, sharp-eyed, shrewd and controlled as its opportunistic heroine - a terrific read.

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