The customs, etiquette, feminine gossip and bitchiness of Victorian England will be on full display in the Cotswold village of Blockley this week.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s famous comedy about the imaginary town of Cranford is performed by Blockley Amateur Dramatic Company (BAD Company).

The original story, serialised on television and believed to be based on the Cheshire town of Knutsford, has been adapted for the stage by Martin Coleman.

The play’s director, William Wilkinson said: “This adaptation is energetic, funny and charming – capturing Victorian domesticity at its most colourful and the absurdity of so many social conventions of the day, not least the ever changing bonnets and caps.

“Nine dear ladies, with their endless card games, strict visiting hours and good-intentioned busyness, squabble and criticise each other with vigour, rapidly dispatching any notion of a gentle country life to the dust bin”.

The novel Cranford is often said to have no over-arching plot, although equally it could be argued that the plot is time and the changes that time brings.

Cranford at the beginning of the book is relatively remote, secure under Heaven and even complacent; but it is threatened by changes, like anywhere else, not least the economic uncertainties of the 1840s, the period in which the novel is set.

Cranford will be performed at St George’s Hall, Blockley, from Thursday, October 31 to Saturday November 2, with an additional matinee performance on the Saturday.

Tickets for the play are available from Blockley Shop.

Phone number: 01386 701411.