THIS year marks Jane Austen’s bicentenary - and what better way to celebrate it than with a fabulous romp celebrating her most famous hero.

Mr Darcy Loses the Plot takes its audience back to the author’s writing table and imagines what the eligible gentleman would have got up to if she’d stopped writing.

Left dangling, and jealous of the dashing Mr Wickham’s more exciting plots, he begins to go in search of his own storylines.

To the audience’s endless amusement, the arrogant bachelor finds himself quite out of place in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton.

He even turns up as the Foxy Whiskered Gentleman in Beatrix Potter’s Jemima Puddleduck.

Tongue-in-cheek references abound in this two-woman comedy show, and Mr Darcy is most proud of his ability as a ‘keen outdoor swimmer’.

The playful mockery of Colin Firth’s wet shirt scene reaches its peak with a film of a Playmobil man diving into the depths of a sea scene created out of lettuce.

Innovative use of film like is just one element of a fantastic set and stage design used by the award-winning duo LipService Theatre.

Intricate quilts crafted by community groups especially for the production are used as backdrops and moving panels.

Film served to conjure up bustling ball scenes and transport theatregoers to Darcy’s pile in Derbyshire, and a model Manderley burned live on stage to great effect.

Fans of Austen or just comedy in general could not fail to love this intelligent and captivating show performed by just two actors.

Understudy Vita Fox, the daughter of one of the creators Maggie Fox, stepped into Darcy’s shoes to join her mum’s co-creator Sue Ryding on stage at Lighthouse.

It's a credit to both women’s acting talents and seamless comic timing that this cast change was news to the crowd at the end of the play.

You could imagine Julie Walters and Victoria Wood doing something similar.

Witty, pointed comments on Austen’s writing and characterisation, the period’s gender politics and three other female authors sat alongside silly slapstick delightfully well.

All in all, this funny, warm and beautifully staged play brimmed with life and served as a showcase to great female writing both past and present.

I take my bonnet off to them.