I HAD high hopes for this play.

It promised it all: sword fighting, love tussles, mistaken identity and a pimp of a father.

For the most part, The Venetian Twins lived up to expectations.

Written over 250 years ago by Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni, it’s the tale of twin brothers Tonino and Zanetto as they attempt to find and wed their respective brides.

Split at birth, the brothers haven’t seen each other for years. Zanetto is now a country bumpkin, living in a town without lawyers. Tonino is every inch the big city rogue, whose sex romps through Venice are cut short when he falls for beautiful Beatrice.

The two descend on the city of Verona. Tonino hunts Beatrice, who has left her family for him. Zanetto comes to marry would-be bride Rosaura – pimped by her father.

Over more than 60 scenes the pair’s uncanny resemblance leads to a series of mishaps that end up killing one brother and sees the other get the gold, girl and the glory.

Zanetto and Tonino are never seen on stage together. In this performance by Swindon’s oldest acting group, the Western Players, both are played well by John Fisher. He switches easily between dimwitted Zanetto and cosmopolitan Tonino.

But the standout performances come from supporting cast members Ruth Davies as maid Colombina and Zanetto’s servant Arlecchino – played by Matt Hemmings.

The two have been pledged to each other in marriage. From the off there’s a laughter between them that’s infects you as soon as Arlecchino eyes up Colombina as a “comely wench”.

There were times when I wanted more from the actors. There was a nervousness that dogged the opening scenes. You willed the players to relax into the slapstick routines.

Last week, director Godfrey Room told me: “In those grey days of dark November we hope to bring a smile to people’s faces.”

Judging by last night’s giggling audience, he's succeeded

The Venetian Twins is at the Arts until Saturday, November 11. Performances at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £13, concessions £11. For more and to buy tickets, visit: www.swindontheatres.co.uk.