Shakespeare in Love is at once a celebration of theatre and a demonstration of all it is able to achieve through the example of its greatest practitioner and those he continues to inspire.

A film first – with a witty and erudite script from Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard – it eventually (2014) became the play it should always have been in an adaptation for the West End by Lee Hall.

Cherwell School alumnus Tom Bateman took on, to great acclaim, the title role defined on screen by Joseph Fiennes. Paying credit where it is clearly due, I rate Pierro Niel-Mee the equal to both in the brightly burnished touring production (Eleanor Lloyd/Theatre Royal Bath) which this week gives Oxford its first taste of the piece.

His appealingly laddish performance perfectly reflects the laid back esprit de corps that clearly existed in the rival theatre companies vying for attention in the London of Elizabeth I, who makes finely judged appearances (Geraldine Alexander) at key points in the drama.

We sense, too, the fierce intellect of the amorous young playwright, even while it is mischievously suggested that some of his greatest lines might have been gifted by the urbane, confident Kit Marlowe (Edmund Kingsley)

His is one of a clutch of meaty roles offered and gleefully seized here, among them those of the rival thesps Richard Burbage (Edward Harrison) and the preposterously preening Ned Alleyn (Rowan Polonski).

Theatre owner Philip Henslowe (Ian Hughes) and the thuggish financier Fennyman (Rob Edwards) also stand out, though the who-owes-whom aspects of the drama, in which they principally figure, remain something of a mystery.

These are matters scarcely important, though, measured against the gripping love story in which heiress Viola de Lesseps (Imogen Daines) combines a love of the stage with a passion for its greatest creator. Too bad that her dad (Giles Taylor) has her lined up for odious aristocrat Lord Wessex (Bill Ward).

Directed in barnstorming style by Phillip Breen, with gorgeous period costumes, on-stage musicians and much singing and dancing, the show gives glorious entertainment.

Till Saturday. Box office: 01865 305305, 5/5