American librettist and performer Barbara Landis admits doing a stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion in England is something of a working holiday.

She’s in Bath (where else?) when she reveals her company has shipped over almost 40 people from the US for an ambitious operetta which includes a ten-piece chamber orchestra and Irish dancers. Having so many creatives on board for an eight-date, five-city UK tour might sound more work than holiday, but Landis says Chamber Opera Chicago are returning to UK thanks to the success of a mini jaunt last year in Winchester (where Austen is buried) and on the Isle of Wight.

“We are having a grand time,” she says, speaking a year on, ahead of a show at The Old Maket in Hove.

“We love it. England is beautiful. It’s like a dream being here and performing Jane Austen. And the audiences are lovely. In Britain, they are more appreciative and understand the humour.”

The 2013 show was well reviewed in the local press on the Isle of Wight, and in Winchester Landis had the opportunity to leave flowers at Austen’s grave (in Winchester Cathedral) as part of a mini pilgrimage.

But she first had the idea to make her own version of Persuasion after performing in a stage production of Pride and Prejudice.

Initially, she considered Sense And Sensibility but settled on Persuasion thanks to its brevity.

“Persuasion is perfect. It is shorter. And when I read Persuasion much of the dialogue is like a script from a play. It translates better to stage.

“Also, I think what appeals to me is it is like a Cinderella story. As a child my favourite story was Cinderella. But this is a Cinderella story just done better. Better because it is so much more passionate and poetic.”

Landis is keen to point out the humour in Austen’s tale of sensitive young Anne Elliot, who loves and loses but gets another chance with the man she first falls for: the self-made man, Frederick Wentworth.

She stresses Jane Austen’s great sense of humour – despite the fact Persuasion was the final thing she wrote.

“We want to make it funny. Our Sir Walter is over the top. We have Elizabeth Elliot as wicked and funny. They are all funny wicked characters not just wicked. We want to amuse and to entertain so we do things light-heartedly. Yes, there are sad subjects in it. Anne Elliot is sad. But we have the humour to bring the show up.”

Landis loves the naval theme and the novel’s Lyme Regis scenes. It’s a good excuse to sing sea songs, including None Can Love Like An Irishman, A Sailor’s Life, Fanny (with words by Robert Burns), and Yellow Haired Laddie, which is another number written from Jane Austen’s manuscripts.

“We make it a sea song with a penny whistle and sing with a projection of The Cobb and Lyme Regis behind.”

The company uses music to bridge the chapters, too, including Pleyel, the popular 18th century French composer, and also to underscore the narration. Landis even visited the Jane Austen museum in Chawton to find original manuscripts and scores from the era.

All the music, whether it is Irish or Scottish, is from the same era. “There is one scene in particular, the great house scene with the Musgrove family, and I took Jane Austen’s words and Pleyel’s sonata it becomes a patter song like Gilbert and Sullivan. Using her words as a libretto works so well. It really made sense.”

The Old Market, Upper Market Street, Hove, Friday, August 1

7.30pm, £12. Call 01273 201801