A Passage to India Salisbury Playhouse until Saturday January 27

The impact of India has dramatic repercussions on Adela, newly arrived from England, in this week's adaptation of E M Forster's classic novel. Phoebe Pryce plays this young woman, who has endured the long voyage, ostensibly to wed Ronny (Edward Killingback) the son of her elderly chaperone, Mrs Moore (the accomplished Liz Crowther). Understandably, Adela is bemused by the crowded streets, strange, exotic scents and sounds, and rigid distinctions of race, class and culture imposed by the British Raj.

This impressive, atmospheric co-production by simple8 and Royal & Derringate, Northampton, with a fifteen-strong cast, employs a remarkable degree of physicality and choral speaking that enfolds the audience in the drama.

It would be unrealistic to depict an entire novel in a couple of hours, and this play highlights the ill-fated visit to the mysterious, echoing Marabar Caves, and its startling repercussions. Asif Khan is excellent in the key role of Aziz, the doctor, whose integrity is questioned by officials keen to accord blame.

Evocative music, composed and performed by Kuljit Bhamra, Asha McCarthy, and Meera Raja, enhances the drama, and the relevance of major faiths is sensitively and colourfully portrayed.

Richard Goulding , as Fielding, who attempts to forge friendship across the cultural divide, is clearly ahead of his time.

The play was adapted and co-directed by Simon Dormandy, with co-director Sebastian Armesto. Dora Schweitzer designed the simple, dramatic set and costumes, and Prema Mehta, lighting designer, created powerful effects. The simulated transport sequences, including an elephant ride, a train, boats and horses, are absolutely stunning.

The play, performed with permission of the E M Forster Estate and the Santha Rama Rau Estate, is brilliant. Catch it if you can

Stella Taylor