Oxford University students are playing out a passionate tale of love, deceit and debauched trickery with a production of Dangerous Liaisons this week.

The adaptation of the 18th century French novel is at the Oxford Playhouse from today until Saturday.

Alice Porter, 20, who is co-starring as the Marquise de Merteuil, said: “What makes this production unique is we set it in France in 1938.”

She said the originality of the setting highlights the inevitable disruption of the lives of the bored upper-class as the war hits. She added: “The pre-war period is not a theme in itself, but the audience will see that these people are the elite society, who use others as pawns in their games. But the time and setting play on the fact that though they seem undefeatable, this is going to change.”

For tickets, see oxfordplayhouse.com