Drama, rustic humour and music, this is Thomas Hardy country in the company of the New Hardy Players as they bring to life the author’s remarkable novel of love and loss.

The setting of the town’s museum is ideal for this dramatic tale of Victorian Dorset where a drunken country lad sells his wife and child with far reaching consequences.

An added bonus to the production is that local scenery throughout the play is shown on a wide screen behind the players along with joyous dancing and music which add to the story’s richness.

The excellent cast of 17 is headed by Mike Staddon as Michael Henchard, whose alcohol habit leads him down the road to ruin. Mike manages the substantial role with great passion and his skill as a singer is also nicely demonstrated.

Amelia Chorley, Liz Bennett and Katie Gallego sensitively portray the women in Henchard’s life while Tom Marsh is his business and love rival while Jonathan White makes the most of his role as the town arbiter.

Live and prerecorded music play an important part and Lucy Allen supplies live violin accompaniment to the dramatic scenes with members of the company adding to the vitality of the story both on stage and in the filmed sequences.

Directed by Tim Laycock and Emma Hill, the production continues until Wednesday and the whole cast deserve great credit for delivering a memorable stage performance in the difficult circumstances of the Covid outbreak.