A rosy period moisturizer, like Hardwick's The Duchess of Duke Street and her Upstairs, Downstairs series, several pretty bubbles above soap. The romance, taking place in the 1815 theaters of London and the provinces, is two-track: aspiring Cockney dancer Jannie, who yearns to play the Pantomimes' Columbine, loves Welsh Ivor, who will become a remarkable Harlequin; and Raymond, an aging dramatic actor reduced to Pantomime because of an unhappy marriage and drink, loves gentle, 30-ish Sara--who has been driven forth from her respectable home for one unfortunately fertile night of love (her child died). Ivor and Jannie are separated through youthful misunderstanding and then Jannie's expedient marriage to a dull nob--and, before the two are reunited, Jannie's husband will be, happily, slain in a duel, and Ivor will come near death because of arsenic delivered by a mad and jealous widow. Meanwhile, Raymond and Sara are on their way to success, but Raymond returns to drinking, forcing the loyal Sara to increasingly unbearable hardship until she loses her wits. But at the finale she is revived by a performance of the now-triumphant new Columbine and Harlequin (Ivor and Jannie)--and Raymond leaves the sauce forever to turn to teaching. With bits of authentic Pantomime scripts, for a cosy evening. . . it's loverly.