IT'S not often these days in our financially challenged artistic climate that companies have reasonable scope for development of ideas. Opera Circus have been working on King Stag for two years and the results are an absolute triumph.

This dynamic piece of music theatre is broadly based on Carlo Gozzi's eighteenth-century commedia play, updated to tell the story of the eccentric King Deramo, who presides over the kingdom of Serendippo. The multi-threaded plot involving an arranged marriage, a stag hunt, and a sacrificial pig emerges as clear as day, thanks to the focus on a central theme of transformation.

The king is under a spell, allowing his soul to inhabit the body of any person or animal but beyond this, it's the collaborative transformation of the cast and the story which makes the winning formula.

Musically it's a rich and varied score, accommodating a number of memorable themes and motifs. Composer Paul Sand reveals a strong sense of orchestration combining a small group of acoustic and amplified instruments, and making them sound like a full pit band. Particularly effective are his dialogues between two clarinets played in motion around the striking performance base. Staged almost in the round, King Stag centres on a double-sided revolving wall and a suspended window frame, brilliantly lit by Simon Corder. Simple props are utilised to amazing dramatic effect, memorably each of the cast brandishing two sticks doubling as antlers and weapons in the deeply symbolic stag hunt.

Director David Glass and his inspired company have created a total theatre experience. Last performance at the Traverse tonight. Be there.