Sense and Sensibility is like an old much-loved coat. Its familiarity is a goodly part of its charm, and you know it will wrap you in warmth, making you feel good without much of an effort on your part. This exquisite production shows that sometimes that old coat is made of cashmere.

Memories of the 1995 film starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet soon fade, thanks to the universally outstanding performances of the excellent cast, and the ingenuity of the Watermill’s set. It is very funny, too, both in the dialogue and the direction, with some real laugh-out-loud moments.

The sense of Sally Scott’s Elinor Dashwood, and the sensibility of sister Marianne (Cassie Layton), are beautifully realised, as is the relationship with their mother (Jenny Funnell) and sister Margaret (Alice Haig – a difficult part done well). The dastardly Willoughby (William Owen) is slightly more dishevelled than dashing, but the lovely Colonel Brandon (Peter Ormond) is, well, lovely. Great hair too.

Graham O’Mara does a good job of the somewhat-wussy Edward Ferrers, with a wonderful cameo role as his brother Robert.

The doubling up can be a bit discombobulating, as when Paul Bigley’s John Dashwood reappears as Sir John Middleton and then Thomas the manservant, but there’s a nice nod to that towards the end. Jane Booker’s ghastly Fanny Dashwood transmutes to an entertaining Mrs Jennings and, although her cut glass delivery doesn’t change, she’s such a good actress that it matters not one jot. Alice Haig’s horrible Lucy Steele must also get a mention – I didn’t recognise her at all.

Undemanding and utterly charming, this is popular theatre at its Watermill best.