HAUNTED by ghosts of the past, Detective Inspector John Rebus is retired but the shadows of his former life still follow him through the streets of Edinburgh.

He is living quietly, but when the daughter of a murder victim appears outside his flat, he’s back on the case and drawn into a tangled web of secrets, regrets and culpability.

This is Rebus: Long Shadows, at the Theatre Royal in Bath until Saturday (March 9). Written by Ian Rankin, adapted by Rona Munro, it is the first time the iconic detective has been brought to the stage. But you do not need to be acquainted with the novels to appreciate the fine writing, and even finer acting, that makes this surprisingly understated but powerful play such an engaging watch.

Ron Donachie plays Rebus, with Cathy Tyson as Siobhan Clarke and John Stahl as Cafferty, a gangland boss become king of the castle.

Donachie has enjoyed a long career on stage, film and television, with credits such as Titanic and Game of Thrones to his name. Tyson is well known for her award-winning role in the film Mona Lisa, and Stahl's stage and screen career includes Mary Queen of Scots, Being Human and (again) Game of Thrones.

The calibre of the three main actors, and indeed the supporting cast, and the assurance of their performance, gives the play an intensity and gravitas that is absolutely mesmerising.

The play begins at 7.30pm, with matinees at 2.30pm on Wednesday and Saturday.

Tickets are£21.50-£37.50, with concessions available. To book, call 01225 448844 or visit theatreroyal.org.uk.