New season, new players and a new take on Shakespeare’s difficult treatise on the human condition.

Set against an Edwardian back-drop - complete with drawing room - The Winter’s Tale opens with a man’s idyllic family life which then collapses under the weight of his suspicion, jealously and self-destruction. It’s a tribute to this new ensemble - put together for the next two years and 14 productions - that it keeps you enthralled during this bleak implosion of Leontes’ life.

Greg Hicks’ portrayal is all self-obsession and introspection as he comes to terms with his fears and suspicions. He tackles some dense passages with vigour beautifully counterbalanced by Kelly Hunter as the wronged Hermione.

There follows a sequence of events which would defy a fairy tale but for the performances and the thread of a serious injustice.

There’s even some humour with Brian Doherty’s Autolycus.

The set, designed by Jon Bausor, itself disintegrates at the end of Act II as two huge bookcases disgorge their contents on stage and Leontes exits through a storm of paper.

A stretch of the imagination allows the play to continue among this debris as Leontes begins to re-build his life in an unlikely fashion and, again the performance wins out through David Farr’s fine direction. Noma Dumezweni, as Paulina, is a particular triumph.