Based on the brilliantly thought-provoking 1924 novel by EM Forster, this is a creatively colourful adaptation for the stage.

Subtly adapted and directed by Simon Dormandy, the compelling story is set in colonial imperialist India where the British still rule yet another Empire country with violence, arrogance and disorder, before the rebellion led by Mahatma Ghandi simmers quietly and Indian independence is finally achieved in 1947.

The pivotal drama occurs when the young visiting English woman Adela (beautifully played by Phoebe Pryce) visits the exotic Marabar Caves with Indian Doctor Aziz who allegedly attacks her and is put on trial.

The curious caves, famous for their creepy echoes and malignant atmosphere, are conveyed very effectively by dramatic lighting, simple props, and convincing characters’ physical placements.

Among some superb actors, Liz Crowther excels as the dignified visiting Englishwoman Mrs Moore, Asif Khan nails Doctor Aziz’s tortured confusion, and Richard Goulding sparkles as idealistic Fielding with his moral courage and perceptive insights.

The minimalist tactile set design works atmospherically, with live onstage Indian music by Kuljit Bhamra, including a cheeky sitar version of In An English Country Garden.

Forster’s novel – and this wonderful stage adaptation co-produced by the imaginative Simple8 and Northampton’s Derngate Theatre – still resonates today, asking how can people still love one another in a world cruelly fractured by cultural, class and religious disparities?

Runs until Saturday, matinees Thursday and Saturday.

Brendan McCusker