Pride And Prejudice, York Theatre Royal/Nottingham Playhouse, at York Theatre Royal until October 14. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk AS it is says on the programme cover, this Pride And Prejudice is based on the novel by Jane Austen, and 'based' is about right.

The adaptation is by Sara Pascoe, the Dagenham stand-up comic, and she writes with the itchy rhythm and ever-changing focus of a comedian, so that it becomes Pride And Prejudice And Pascoe. The question is, does it reduce Austen's powers or make it more than a Regency English romance filtered through today's bish-bash-bosh attention span.

York Theatre Royal has previous form for this kind of post-modern, post-ironic theatrical reappraisal. In 2013, writer Richard Hurford and artistic director Damian Cruden took on the "insurmountable" challenge of transferring Coxwold vicar Laurence Sterne’s The Life And Opinions Of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman from page to stage and only proved it can't be staged. That bold folly was called a "response", rather than an adaptation, "very loosely based" on the infamous book.

The difference here is that Pride And Prejudice very definitely can be staged, and tightly, not loosely based on the novel, but that's another play for another day, probably, preferably, shorter, certainly more focused and potentially more consistently humorous.

Director Susannah Tresilian specifically wanted a comedian to adapt Austen's work, chose Pascoe and then added more distaff staff to this female-centric production by inviting cult singer-songwriter and soundtrack composer Emmy The Great to write the score and Carla Goodman to design the set.

Emmy's music successfully varies from humorous songs at the piano (a la Victoria Wood), to incidental pieces, Regency dances and a big-number "Pride And Prejudice" finale; Goodman's witty set is a sort of open-plan gilded bird cage with plenty of room for lots and lots of contemplative walking, as Austen's characters are wont to do. You will surely like the character-matching costumes too.

The production, however, stands or falls on Pascoe's restless script, and Austen purists should look away now. It's not for you, although parts of it would be, the Austen parts, where Pascoe in particular captures the desperation of Mrs Bennet (the outstanding Kerry Peers) to marry off her five daughters in a series of family fall-out scenes around the table, matched by the foot-in-mouth awkwardness of Matt Whitchurch's Mr Darcy in his declaration of love for Elizabeth.

Rachel Partington goes gawkily scene-stealing as the awkward, weird youngest sister Mary, but it is more difficult for Bethany Mary-James's Elizabeth because she needs more momentum than Pascoe and Tresilian give her.

There is always a modern deconstructive decoy breaking up the flow: actors stepping out of character to comment on the script or Austen in rehearsal; schoolgirls in teacher Elizabeth's class wondering why the sisters behaved as they did; the second half opening with a TED lecture on Austen; film-makers Graham (Adrian Davie) and Mary (Partington) echoing the exploitative male/exploited female traits of yore in a quick fling.

Some of this is mildly humorous, but Austen's story is funnier, and the accumulative effect is didactic. We know the world still hasn't changed; the question is why.

York Theatre Royal and Nottingham Playhouse's co-production of Pride And Prejudice runs at York Theatre Royal until October 14. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk