THEATRES up and down the land have been doing it for decades - transporting the plays of Shakespeare to modern settings.
But, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would work with a Jane Austen novel, believing them to be too deeply rooted in the era in which they are set.
But this wonderful art form has a habit of still springing a few surprises, and so it is with Jeff James's fun filled andhighly entertaining adaptation of Austen's classic text. There isn't a frilly gown or a bonnet or a pair of breeches in sight here and the genteel music the writer grew up around has been replaced by pulsating pop tunes.
If a production was ever made for the summer it's this one and an exceptional and energetic cast make it their mission to ensure you leave the theatre buzzing with delight.
The story - what little there is of it - follows the fortunes of Anne, whose family faces the prospect of facing genteel poverty and who herself faces the prospect of ending up "on the shelf." She attracts plenty of interest from the well travelled Captain Wentworth and another very eligible chap, Mr Elliot, who has a darker side to his seemingly engaging character.
Lara Rossi is excellent as Anne and as well as being a very capable actress she's also a very capable and exciting dancer. I also really liked Samuel Edward-Cook as the seasoned sea dog Wentworth and Arthur Wilson as the wolf in sheep's clothing, Elliot.
While I'm an admirer of Jane Austen and the vivid and engaging way in which she depicts the chattering classes, I was amazed as to how well this worked in a 21st century setting. A tribute to the directing skills of Mr James - yes, the talented so and so eve directed the piece, which had me laughing out loud, on many occasions.
* Until June 24. The box office is on 0161 833 9833. Star rating - ****