TOLSTOY’S classic novel Anna Karenina is no stranger to the world’s stages.

Indeed, this is the second adaptation of this tragedy of sexual double standards to play at the Lyceum in 18 years (following Jo Clifford’s version back in 2005).

This new adaptation for the Lyceum and Bristol Old Vic, written by Lesley Hart and directed by Polina Kalinina, is bold, pungent and memorable.

Boasting a striking, searing performance by Lindsey Campbell in the title role, it seeks to penetrate directly into the heart of a hypocritical, aristocratic Russian society in which men are at far greater sexual liberty than women.

In this world, a man’s “honour” depends, not on his own conduct, but on his wife’s “virtue”.

At face value, this staging is the kind of faithful-yet-modernistic costume drama that has long been standard on stages in Europe and beyond. However, there are a number of innovations that set this production apart.

Hart’s script has a 21st-century looseness about it. This enables characters to speak with a level of confessional informality that acts, pleasingly, as grease to the action.

READ MORE: How becoming Scotland's book town 25 years ago helped save Wigtown

However, the script’s use of swearing is so self-conscious as to border on the adolescent.

For example, when Anna’s sister-in-law Dolly (the impressively raging-yet-subdued Jamie Marie Leary) drops an f-bomb, the titular heroine exclaims: “You don’t swear!”

This sets the tone for a regular use of expletives that, whilst it might have been daring in the 1950s, seems irritatingly incongruous in 2023.

More problematic still is the hugely intrusive, occasionally obliterating use of discordant music and sound (the work of composer Xana).

That Anna is taking potentially catastrophic risks in pursuing her affair with Count Vronsky (Robert Akodoto on superbly charming, reckless and arrogant form) or that the affair is driven by an irresistible sexual passion, are conveyed excellently well by the acting and staging, without Xana’s aural bombast.

It is extremely frustrating that the production is given to such over-indulgences because it sparks with vitality in so many other departments. The acting is universally impressive, from Angus Miller’s blithely degenerate Stiva to Ray Sesay’s diffident and decent Levin.

Campbell’s playing of Anna is breathtaking at times. She is so agonisingly constrained by the misogynistic mores of her society that she seems set almost to burst from her own skin.

In the scenes of the most passionate intimacy between Anna and Vronsky, the physical mismatch between the diminutive Campbell and the lofty Akodoto is employed to extraordinary visual and emotional effect.

The turning above them of designer Emma Bailey’s huge, symbolic sculpture (think a massive corkscrew with enormous spikes) is curiously effective. Likewise, Bailey’s glass-walled stage-within-a-stage in which sometimes snowbound scenes are played out at the back of the performance space.

Despite its moments of great psychological and erotic urgency, this production still sags a little towards the end. Symptomatic, perhaps, of a staging that, in its desire to fill the glass to the brim, often overflows to the detriment of its theatrical purpose.

At the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh until June 3: