Occasionally it is a pleasant experience to be proved wrong and this musical version of Erich Segal’s book and the subsequent 1970 film proves to be a case in point.

The anticipation when this show was announced was for a gloomy, sugary and ultra sentimental evening. How wrong we were. Instead, the creative team have come up with a charming show that delights, is full of laughter and keeps the tragic ending of sickness and death short, thereby avoiding mawkishness.

The story is the development of love between Oliver and Jenny, love of music and love between children and fathers.

The production is staged with a beautiful simplicity with the short scenes segued with minimal furniture changes effected by the cast with an almost balletic quality.

The show is a chamber piece using musical accompaniment from a string sextet and piano – never intruding but often enhancing the storyline.

The songs on the whole may not be memorable but they serve well as soliloquies and duologues. Remaining in the memory are What Can You Say, a eulogy to the dead Jenny, Everything We Know, a strong ballad that gets a deserved reprise and the clever rhyming Pasta Song. Michael Xavier as the rebellious rich kid, Oliver, delivers a comprehensive performance while Emma Williams is a knockout as Jenny – a delicious mixture of feistiness and touching charm who gets to deliver all the show’s best wisecracks. As Jenny’s dad, Peter Polycarpou radiates paternal love and pride, contrasting with Oliver’s austere father.