IN ADAPTING Leon Garfield’s story of Smith, the young pickpocket at home in the criminal underbelly of 18th century London, director Julian Sluggett has created a complex, absorbing tale of action, intrigue and a wealth of human drama.

Although there were a few wobbles, the young cast displayed commendable focus and drive, negotiating their way through the ebbs and flows of the dramatic narrative with confidence.

The impressive set, designed by Andy Bumfrey, with its central grey stonecoloured structure and large gates, loomed large over the action, helping to create the air of oppression and menace that was an underlying thread of the story.

Oliver Halton displayed an urchin charm that befitted the role of Smith, while Megan O’Hanlon was dignified as the upright blind Magistrate Mansfield.

The production moved at an intense pace, with some nicely detailed scenes and dramatic flourishes.