David Bintley has revived his ambitious danced version of Thomas Hardy’s novel Far from the Madding Crowd. It’s a country tale of passionate Bathsheba Everdene, and the three men who desire her: decent farm-hand Gabriel Oak, rich, obsessive William Boldwood, and dashing but deceitful Sergeant Francis Troy.

The drama unfolds amid a plethora of dancing yokels, and a country fair, including a ‘three legged man’ in a kilt, a bearded lady, three tumblers — with Callie Roberts catching the eye - a juggler and a fire eater. All this is effectively done, and makes a break in the tense atmosphere between the protagonists. Bintley was a superb character dancer in his time, and has created vivid personalities to flesh out this tragic tale. As Troy, Iain Mackay is irresistible to Bathsheba in his fancy uniform with shiny buttons, and his nifty moustache. An elegant figure, he is given soaring jumps and wide expressive gestures as he woos and seduces her. Mackay is superb in the role, pretty much stealing the show.

Joseph Caley is another fine dancer, but his Gabriel Oak is perhaps a little too boyish to be a serious contender, though our sympathies are with him throughout. Bintley portrays him as a gentle, unassuming man, slightly overawed by the glamour of Troy and the high social standing of Boldwood. Nicely put over by Caley.

Matthew Lawrence, as Boldwood, is withdrawn and formal, but towering passions lurk within his austere frame, causing him to shoot Francis Troy, who has returned just as he thinks Bathsheba is finally his.

And, of course, Bathsheba Everdene is the catalyst that precipitates the events in this powerful story. It’s important that we feel her sexual power and the strength of her personality. Elisha Willis dances beautifully, but these qualities are lacking in an otherwise well judged performance.

Troy’s jilted fiancé Fanny Robin — Jenna Roberts — who dies with her baby, is very touching in choreography that shows her lovely line as well as her acting ability. This is a long piece — there are two intervals — but Bintley manages to hold our interest most of the time. Perhaps the country dance element should be shortened a little; perhaps Paul Reade’s music is a little heavy at times, but overall this is an admirable work. At the close, one man is dead, a mother has died with her infant, while another man is in an asylum. But the heroine marries, even though he was her third choice. By Thomas Hardy’s standards, that’s a happy ending.

BRB’s season continues with triple bill Summer Celebration. Tickets: 0844 338 5000 or birminghamhippodrome.com