Putting Brideshead on the stage creates great expectations to match one of the 20th century’s best-loved novels and its highly successful TV adaptation.

Initially these expectations are not met.

Without Oxford, Venice or Brideshead’s grand architecture, and with Sebastian more infantile than precocious, it’s hard to understand what seduces Charles so immersively.

Much effort has gone into making this a theatrical adaption rather than just sticking the TV series on the stage but not all the devices work.

The play presents time as fluid and Charles’s memories fall in on themselves but sometimes it feels like we’re rushing through the plot.

What is added by a very noticeable microphone is unclear in most scenes but the bold use of different single block colour backdrops is striking.

The two techniques combine powerfully for the closing scene, Charles kneeling before a black cross on an orange background as his words echo around Brideshead chapel.

In the second half the production grows stronger with a clever use of ropes and wheely chairs to recreate a ship in a storm as Julia and Charles are reunited while the staging of Charles’s new art exhibition is beautifully done.

In the end the play is a pleasing reminder of the brilliance of Evelyn Waugh and Jeremy Irons and a pleasant introduction to those yet to savour either.

Evening performances 7.45pm, Thursday and Saturday matinees 2.30pm, tickets, call 0844 871 7650

Read our preview of Brideshead Revisited here.