As You Like It, St Martin's Church, Colchester, until Saturday, October 1. 7.30pm.

IN this anniversary year where the whole world, and his wife, and his dog, are marking William Shakespeare's death, it takes a really innovative bunch to put a fresh new spin on him.

Well on the basis of the current production of As You Like It, currently lighting up St Martin's Church, then Colchester's Twas Theatre are just that group of people.

Stripping down the overly convoluted plot, moving the Forest of Arden to a festival site, and then turning one of Shakespeare's most beloved female characters into a drag queen you might think are just a few steps too far.

But actually it's these little touches that make Twas' debut Shakespeare production so adorable.

It still remains true to the crazy gender swapping love story that remains at the play's heart, and of course no As You Like It would be worth its salt without the All The World's A Stage speech and Thomas Edwards does it more than justice with his superb 'stand-up' version of it.

You also cannot get away with doing Shakespeare on neat little theatrical touches alone.

Yes, Adam Abo-Henriksen's songs are infectiously wonderful and Benjamin Powell's Phoebe was an absolute revelation. I also loved the setting up of the festival scene, with roadies buzzing about sticking up lights and bunting as well as checking the sound levels.

But none of that matters one jot unless you have a group of actors who bring the bard's verse to life and thankfully Twas have scored another huge hit with the cast Tom Foster has had to direct.

What makes the ensemble even more pleasing is it consists of many familiar faces from years gone by who, after going away to train professionally, have returned home to show just how good they've got.

Actors like Richard Conrad, Joseph Alexander and Matthew Jewson.

But there's also some new names to look out for including Roisin Keogh, who is stunning as Rosalind, Alec Clements, an assured and confident Orlando, and the very talented Charlotte Luxford, who has already been singled out by a top film website as someone to watch out for, and on this performance you can see why.

If I was being ultra picky I would perhaps have trimmed the length of some of the songs and may be have some kind of prologue to up the energy levels right from the start but they are very minor criticisms indeed.

This is a show that would sit so well on the UK festival circuit so if the Latitude people are reading this, you have to sign them up. It really Twas ruddy brilliant.