IN the words of Jamie Oliver, Salsa Verde is a "herby green sauce, incredible with fish".

Not in Kate Bramley's new play for Badapple Theatre, it isn't. Salsa is the dance at the heart of her new comedy drama; Verde is the unusual name of a villager caught up in a love triangle, named after his family's long-dead stuffed cat, Mr Ferdinand.

The setting is the last months of 1999 at the old village dance hall in Carlton, where the big question is whether the controversial Millennium Bridge will be finished in time for the opening Salsa Fiesta.

The aforementioned love triangle sets disaffected Verde (guitar-playing Jack Alexander) on a collision course with Tony Angel (Hadley Smith), the most handsome of the bridge builders.

Newly returned to his village, and now working reluctantly in admin for the building firm, educated, articulate Verde has the hots for sassy salsa instructor Sallie (Alexandra Daszewski), but down-to-earth, mud-thick Angel is the one to set her pulse racing. Cast your mind back to Cyrano de Bergerac, and you will find echoes here, especially in a set-piece song.

Just as Badapple's last autumn tour, The Last Station Keeper, linked ghostly past and present, so the character of ex-Carlton Colliery miner Grandad (Daszewski again) is the conduit in Bramley's new work, taking the story back to his involvement in an earlier doomed love triangle in 1939 that set a Bevan Boy (Alexander's Wise) against a Navy recruit (Smith's Angelo).

Writer-director Kate Bramley has woven her tall tale of a play from three inspirations: a conversation with past company member Zoe Land about her passion for salsa dancing; a character from Badapple composer Jez Lowe's song Sea And The Deep Blue Devil; and the offer of a stuffed cat from her cousin's house clear-out for potential use as a prop one day.

Bringing together a dash of salsa, a splash of nautical intrigue and the cameo panache of the scene-stealing Mr Ferdinand, Bramley crafts an elegiac drama that is both witty and wistful, humorous and haunting, assisted by Jez Lowe's typically adroit songwriting.

There is a somewhat left-feld but amusing reference to Donald Trump in the form of a not very deep, funny coloured River Trump; the building firm is called Strictly & Son in a nod to the salsa and Lindy hop-dancing; Catherine Dawn's set design is minimalist, ideal for touring, with room to dance Encuentro Latino's salsa choreography, and the tall tale stretches as far as taking in an Elvis Vegas suit and a Ginger Spice Union Jack dress. As ever, Bramley's well-picked, multi-tasking, bright young cast are a delight to behold.

"Salsa Verde is all about finding joy in hard times," writes Bramley in her programme note. She is referring to the play, but it might equally apply to Badapple's much valued role of bringing theatre to your village doorstep.

Salsa Verde, Badapple Theatre On Your Doostep, on tour until October 28; see for dates and tickets