WHEN your original review of a work sent its writer back to the drawing board, it’s a daunting prospect to watch the revamped version.

Were your recommendations right? Would they improve the story, or could a neat hour-long, one act play become a drawn out and laboured full length work?

Writer and director Katie Fry, from Blackburn, took up suggestions from the Lancashire Telegraph review of The Copper Jar in 2011 and premiered a new two-act rewrite at the weekend.

The story is still set in Basil Fawlty-esque Dups’ sandwich shop, and the action speeds along with sharp direction of snappy short scenes as we meet and learn about his select group of customers.

Thankfully the reworked plots and more fully developed characterisations, as well as some fresh casting, kept the heart of the story intact. But with each customer’s back story made clearer, the emotional ante was considerably ramped up.

Returning to The Copper Jar were Katie herself as grown up – and reformed – troubled teen Emma, 30-something Dominic Crolla as 70-plus pensioner Terry and Sam Rowlands as neurotic Dups.

The latter pair draw together the customers – and draw in the audience; Terry unites by affection and Dups as a figure of mockery. They each excelled, their polar opposite physical and vocal portrayals were excellent – Dom’s gentle tones and slowing shuffle gave a delightful contrast to Sam’s psychotic, high-pitched rants and high-energy performance.

Katie showcased a full range of emotions with ease, adding some nice comic touches too.

Fiances Gav and Chelsea (Ryan McGee and Clare Heathcote) are desperate to have a baby and their heartbreaking plot is very touchingly told, with some very emotionally charged moments. Ryan’s bond with those around him – especially as Terry passes on the ‘father figure’ role – was particularly impressive.

Francis Shaw was fantastically awkward as student Simon. He had the audience in the palm of his hand with facial expressions to rival Michael Crawford as Frank Spencer. His scene with gym-nut Jack (Jake Sidebotham), Emma’s hunky love interest, was belly-achingly funny – Jake’s dry counter to Francis was spot on, although he could have been rougher round the edges, to bring out Emma’s suspicions more convincingly, but his confession as he tried to win her back was gently handled.

‘Comedy drama’ is the perfect label for this play, no sooner had I wiped away tears than I was laughing out loud once more.

The Copper Jar is a great showcase for new writing and some very talented young actors.