The wedding vittles are flung, smeared and smothered all over cast and set, nuptials are celebrated in an orgy of jelly and custard, and an unwanted fiancé is drowned in the punchbowl when his betrothed meets someone more to her taste.

Jessica Raine (currently the demure lead in Call the Midwife on TV) gives Beatrice-Joanna a hard-hearted determination – first in the cruel insults she heaps on infatuated manservant De Flores (Daniel Cerqueira) with his red, flaking skin she finds so repulsive, then in her decision to employ him to despatch the suitor chosen for her by her father. What she doesn’t anticipate, however, is that it’s her body, not her money he’ll claim as his reward.

Either meshed in above (in a nod to the subplot set in the local lunatic asylum) or seated in enclosed pews at ground level, we watch as this Jacobean tragedy unfolds – not with restraint, but with more than a touch of black humour as blood flows, virginity is tested and characters emerge from cupboards. – Louise Kingsley

Young Vic, The Cut, SE1 8LZ
Tube: Southwark / Waterloo
until 25th February

– Louise Kingsley