It is a truth universally acknowledged that pretty much everyone in the whole world loves Pride and Prejudice, and over the years there have been numerous film, TV and stage adaptations and spin-off books and programmes – think Death Comes to Pemberley and Lost in Austen – to cater to, and profit from, this attraction.

But Joannah Tincey’s imaginative and loving stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic 1813 novel of manners is a little bit different from all of these – in her version, just two actors juggle the full gamut of the well-loved characters, including Lizzy and Darcy, Mr and Mrs Bennet and the Bennet sisters, and Messrs Bingley, Wickham and Collins.

“What makes this novel perfect as a two-hander is that there are lots of ‘double acts’ in it,“ says Joannah, who stars in the play in a double act of her own with her husband, Nick Underwood, “Lizzy and Jane, Mr and Mrs Bennet, Jane and Bingley, Darcy and Bingley, Kitty and Lydia, Lizzy and Mr Collins and, of course, Lizzy and Darcy, who are the centre double act, whose perspectives change so radically by the whirligig of events that propels them into a better understanding of themselves.“

Joannah and Nick portray the different characters by way of vocal modifications, changes in posture, and accessories that they can pull out and put away in an instant.

Even group scenes pose no fear for the duo.

“We move position on stage quickly!“ laughs Joannah, who set up Two Bit Classics with Nick last year to dramatise classic works of theatre, film and literature after the couple met in 2009 when they were in a play together.

“It’s very carefully choreographed so that this doesn’t take up any time. Some party scenes we limit to only a few central characters and we have a great sound design which complements the sense of an occasion, like a ball. Though it should be said that we do a dance sequence that is about three minutes long and involves six characters!“

Joannah’s adaptation has the characters addressing the audience directly, much in the way that Jane Austen spoke to her readers in the novel.

“This is something you can only do in theatre,“ says Joannah, who first read Pride and Prejudice as a 17-year-old and had been dreaming of staging it for five years before ‘taking the plunge’ and starting writing it.

“It gives ownership of the developing story to the audience and I think that’s partly because it’s much more obvious for an audience that they’re indispensable to the show than is the case in more naturalistic theatre. We’ve found that our audiences leave with a sense of invigoration which I think is because of their active participation through the exercise of their imaginations in creating the story with us.“

  • Pride and Prejudice is at artsdepot, Tally Ho Corner, Nether Street, North Finchley on Tuesday, November 4 at 7pm. Details: 020 8369 5454,