IT is no small achievement for any company to produce Jean Anouilh’s exacting play about Joan of Arc.

So it very much to the credit of Dorchester Drama that they have not only risen to the challenge, but done so with integrity, helped in no small measure by their first class leading actress.

Lorna Moss is young enough to be convincing as the Maid of Orleans – she is still a school student – yet old enough to bring gravity beautifully blended with innocent truth to the dominant role in the play.

Beginning towards the end of Joan’s trial for heresy, the drama examines in flashback the argument and discussion among the mixed motives of those who are given the job of dealing with a peasant girl who suddenly appears at the court of the Dauphin and tells him that she will lead him to victory against the invading English army.

Trevor Williams does an excellent job as director while also playing a leading role as the devious Earl of Warwick while Lee Stroud is in fine form as the Bishop in charge of making Joan confess that her visions were mere fantasy.

Among a large cast, Jonny White stands out as the feckless and cash-strapped Dauphin surrounded by the trivialities of the French court while Anne Ottaway is the Inquisitor.

Excellent costumes and an imaginative set which includes a prison cell, palatial royal court and execution fire all help to bring to life Anouilh’s take on the influence of the church in medieval times. The outdoor production continues tonight.