Rebecca Lenkiewicz's searing drama Her Naked Skin, recreates life in the pre-female emancipation era, when women from across society strove desperately for the right to vote. This production, at Salisbury Playhouse until October 20, is a stark reminder of the Suffragette Movement which sparked such social and political strife in this country.

Set in London in 1913, when hundreds of women were imprisoned for this cause, the play explores political aspirations and personal relationships.

Abigail Cruttenden plays Lady Celia Cain who finds the Suffrage Movement liberating, politically and sexually. Her bemused husband, William,(Robert Hands) who struggles to understand her stance, eventually realises the impossibility of their family life. The situation worsens when Lady Celia, imprisoned for her anti-social activities, forms a relationship with Eve Douglas (played by Lorna Fitzgerald).

The play has horrific scenes of force feeding as the authorities strive to curb protesters' deaths from self-imposed starvation. Eve, a vehement working class activist, is driven to utter despair.

An able cast, including Jane How as the upper crust Florence Boorman, portrays the period effectively in mini-scenes, with excellent, slick changes of props and lighting. The window-smashing, the informal drill with weapons in Epping Forest, the street parades, effectively portrayed by a 22 strong splendid community cast, all bring immediacy to a movement that became less aggressive with the impending onset of the First World War.

Continuing support, although toned down by world events, is evident in the spectacular finale with banners that proclaim a continuing campaign to gain votes for women.

The Wiltshire Creative production, directed by Gareth Machin, is a worthy successor to the play's premiere ten years ago at the National Theatre.

Excellent lighting design is by Johanna Town; sound by Michael Scott. The entire company deserves congratulation on capturing an episode of history so effectively.

Stella Taylor