“How are you finding it?” an audience member asked his theatre buddy in hushed tones (but within our finely-tuned earshot) as we pushed our way through the throng during the interval. “It’s a bit close to the bone,” his pal answered pensively.

Surely, the highest compliment writer Michael Aitkens could have been paid. After all the play, based on his 1990s BAFTA-nominated sitcom Waiting for God, charts with biting wit and not a small dose of cynicism, the on-going strife of two pensioners (wrangling with the vagaries of ageing disgracefully) in a callous care system bent on institutionalising and infantilising perfectly healthy and with-it septuagenarians.

Re-imagined for 2017, the stage show resurrects beloved characters and recalcitrant ‘inmates’ at Bayview Retirement Home, battle-axe extraordinaire Diana Trent (Nichola McAuliffe) and newcomer Tom Ballard (Jeffrey Holland). Seemingly polar opposites the pair eventually warm to each other; no thanks to belligerent and tactless Diana whose propensity to offend is quite unparalleled.

Together they hilariously gang up against the care home’s hapless and frankly heartless manager Harvey (played by Samuel Collings with the perfect mix of corporate blandness and overblown ego) – who boasts to anyone within spitting distance he trained for three weeks to reach his lofty position. The partners in crime certainly give him his comeuppance, flouting the rules and disrupting the home’s regimented boredom, by escaping their dim-witted care worker Jane’s not-so-careful watch and breaking out for impromptu joyrides.

Nichola McAuliffe is a riot as fiesty Diana, a veritable ticking time bomb ready to explode at the first sign of condescension from the care team. She delivers her caustic one-liners with brio and her comic flair and boundless energy are well above par.

Jeffrey Hollands’s plummy and rather eccentric Tom Ballard, is as loveable as he is believable. Together the cracking duo bring humour (and a little sauciness) but also nuance and pathos to the finely-crafted comedy. A shower of laughs, Waiting for God is incisive, thoughtful, uncompromising – and rejuvinating.

Waiting for God runs at the Theatre Royal Bath until Saturday, May 27.