Moby Dick at the Theatre Royal Brighton last night was haunting and visually stunning.

An adaptation of Herman Melville’s book, the production from French/ Norwegian company Plexus Polaire featured seven actors, 50 puppets, video projections on smoke, a drowned orchestra and a huge whale.

The packed audience quickly fell silent as we were immersed in darkness before a light display and eerie music made us feel like we had been plunged into the dark depths of the sea.

Fish puppets and the shimmering lights continued the illusion as masked fisherman floated through the smoke that filled the stage to whisper their lines.

This melancholic feel would flow through the show as we saw the whaling ship's captain Ahab, who was a puppet, anguished and hungry for vengeance against the whale Moby Dick, who bit off his leg on a previous voyage.

Different sizes of puppet conveyed the captain’s increasing fury and madness, with the puppeteers manipulating his limbs artfully.

These puppeteers were wrapped in black and sometimes wore skull masks, again adding to the sense of foreboding and the inevitable end for the crew.

The spell was often broken by the actor playing Ishmael who delivered passages from the book’s text, but without his long monologues and commentary it would have been difficult to know what was going on between Ahab’s angry ramblings.

The Theatre Royal’s stage was completely transformed and the way in which the show moved from a set of the boat to then seeing a small boat carried by puppeteers traversing the waves of the sea created by sheets and lights was truly wonderful.

We saw different forms of whale from small puppets to a large tail lit up by twinkling lights that taunted Ahab and finally a huge whale on a sheet with a moving fin to end the production.

I was slightly disappointed by the whale, having foolishly expected the “whale sized whale” to be a puppet, but it was still a beautiful finish to a well-crafted piece of theatre.

The atmosphere created by the puppets, the lights, the projections and smoke was magical, melancholic and disturbing at the same time and I felt as if I was on the boat with the crew.

Moby Dick will be at the Theatre Royal in Brighton again tonight and tomorrow as part of the Brighton Festival, which ends this weekend.