Poking fun at politicians is always good sport. What is so striking about Iolanthe is the relevance, even after 130 years, of its satire. Nothing really changes.

Directed by Morven Hamilton and Tom Bruggenwirth, the university’s Savoyards include plenty of contemporary updates – Scottish independence, second homes, Boris Johnson, you name it – but the work’s essential framework stands firm.

A new apron stage is sensibly tilted on an angle, so that the show is given effectively in the round to only half the theatre. The permanent set, constructed by a technical team headed by Emily Parker and Emily Blackman-Gibson, evokes the wood panelling and plush seating of the House of Lords, though the office-chair ‘Woolsack’ could do with an upgrade.

On Thursday’s opening night, an orchestra of some two dozen under Kristina Craven, set to one side, settled down after a slightly dodgy overture and eventually coalesced well. Its unbuttoned account of the Wagnerian parody was just the ticket.

The stand-out principal was Chris Oates as Lord Chancellor, a pleasing baritone with clear diction and easy manner. Stephanie Wake-Edwards made good use of her clear-toned soprano as Phyllis. Sophie Hurst was an engaging Iolanthe and Jason White an amiable Private Willis.

Ryan Greer meant well, but turned Strephon into an over-the-top simpleton. There were useful cameos from Robbie Medina’s Tolloller and William Isted’s Mountararat, and a firm Fairy Queen from Fliss Bott. The chorus was unfailingly lively and musically on the ball, if not quite on top of all the imaginative choreography. Jenny Anderton’s costumes were nicely distinctive.

With few exceptions, the cast needed to remember that contact microphones only amplify, they do not clarify. Diction, especially the spoken word, needs to be much more strongly projected. But the show is basically a delight, not to be missed.

Further performances on Fri 7.30pm, and Sat 2.30pm & 7.30pm.