The Courtyard has done it again - their current production of Pride and Prejudice, directed by David Durant, is an absolute joy from start to finish, and should be an absolute must for any Austen fans out there.

The skilful adaptation by Simon Reade wittily fillets Austen's novel, and zips elegantly through the story of the five Bennet girls, whose mother is so anxious to see married. The narrative slides seamlessly from scene to scene, with no loss of clarity, to create a dramatic dance of a well-loved tale, with an irresistible mix of laugh-out-loud moments - Mr Bennet telling Lizzie that if she doesn't marry Mr Collins, her mother will never speak to her again, but that if she does marry him, HE will never speak to her again - and, of course, romance!

Professional actors Hannah Douglas, Tom Gordon, George Telfer and Alison Rose as, respectively, Elizabeth Bennet, Mr Darcy, and Mr and Mrs Bennet were joined by members of The Courtyard's Youth Theatre to deliver an impressively polished production, one in which all the delicious nuances of character were conveyed with conviction by every member of the cast.

The sense of the story, which has at its heart the finely poised relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy, having been transformed into an intricate dance is reinforced by the simple set, at the centre of which is the dance floor on which the drama opens. And in a cast that was uniformly in step, it's unfair to single anyone out, but I can't resist highlighting the performances of George Telfer demonstrating great comic timing as Mr Bennet, and Hannah Douglas as a perfect Elizabeth Bennet. But they were simply personal standouts for me - because India Sockett, Freya Batstone, Maddie West and Georgina Sockett as the other four Bennet girls; Matt Jones, Harry Williams and Matt Lawrence as Mr Bingley, Mr Collins and Mr Wickham, Amanda Watkins as Lady Catherine de Bourgh (given some of the very best, most scathing lines in the piece), and every other member of the cast all brought distinct definition to their characters. If you're a fan of Jane Austen, this is a must. If you've never read her, don't miss this production - you'll leave desperate to read the original.

Pride and Prejudice runs at The Courtyard until Saturday. To book, call the box office on 01432 340555 or visit