FINE dresses, fluttering fans and women who live to land a handsome, well-heeled husband.

Welcome to the world of Jane Austen, recreated on the stage of Altrincham Garrick this week in Janet Munsil’s perfectly paced adaptation of the classic novel.

Personally, I’ve never been able to work out if Austen loved or simply tolerated a world that often seems shallow and superficial.

It is remarkable though, how fresh the dialogue sounds, moments of wit punctuating the drab society small talk.

Laura Whitehurst, pretty and elegant, is particularly impressive as Lizzie Bennet, the heroine of the piece and Laura particularly shines during the scenes in which she fends off the romantic attentions of the boring as hell clergyman Mr Collins. I’ve watched Adam Gonet grow as an actor and he plays this part really well. Collins may be incurably dull but Adam manages to make his character, who has a very unique dancing style, rather lovable.

Colin Firth immortalised the Darcy role on the big screen and Anthony Morris cuts a dashing figure in the Garrick production, with Anthony bringing a quiet charisma to this most famous of roles.

One of the best performances of the evening comes from Jacqueline Wheble as Mrs Bennet, forever flustered and trying so hard to make sure her flirty, gossip craving daughters stay on the straight and narrow.

Add a lovely set and you have a highly watchable evening of escapism, with a few laughs along the way.

* Until March 22. The box office is on 0161 928 1677. Star rating - ***