WAY back in the mists of time DH Lawrence’s controversial mastperiece, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, was the talk of the town.

The novel was first published privately in 1928 in Italy, and in 1929 in France.

Then an unexpurgated edition was not published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960, when it was the subject of a watershed obscenity trial against the publisher Penguin Books but was eventually allowed to be published and put on sale.

Now, a sensual new stage adaptation arrives in Malvern’s tonight as part of a UK tour.

It will star TV regular Rupert Hill (Casualty, BBC; Coronation Street, ITV) alongside Phoebe Marshall (Witness for the Prosecution, London County Hall).

Considered sensationalist erotica when first published and banned worldwide, Lawrence’s text caused outrage not just because of the explicit language, but also because it bridged social and class divides.

This impassioned tale of female agency and the desire to live more than a half-life changed the literary landscape of Britain.

Sixty years after the scandalous trial of the unexpurgated publication, this beautiful new production reflects the monumental changes in attitude towards female sexuality. It is also an exploration of the scars of war and the dangers of toxic masculinity. Above all, Lady Chatterley is a passionate and optimistic love story.

Trapped in a sexless marriage following her husband’s disability, Connie is burdened with her female duty of care and an increasing sense of isolation. She instigates a physically charged love affair with the gamekeeper, Mellors, flouting expectations and obligations in the name of self-love.

Director Ciaran McConville comments: “It’s a privilege to bring this book to the stage. I’ve loved Lawrence’s writing since I was a teenager, but revisiting Lady Chatterley, I’m struck by how modern so much of it feels.

"It’s a comment on the fragility of masculinity and the need for an honest approach to our physical life. And it’s beautiful, too. I’m really excited to be working with Tilted Wig, whose values and ethos make for wonderful tours.”

Lady Chatterley’s Lover will be on stage at Malvern Theatres from tonight until Saturday, February 29. Tickets are on sale at the Box Office 01684 892277 and online at malvern-theatres.co.uk.