THE thing I know to be true is that you should see this devastating play. Touring theatre companies may be in decline in number, but the best should always survive, and Frantic Assembly is one such troupe, making its long overdue debut appearance in York this week.

The lateness of this review is on account of actor John McArdle being taken ill on stage not long into Wednesday's then cancelled performance, and while the former Brookside and Emmerdale soap star is resting up, director Scott Graham has stepped in for the rest of the York run, book in hand but still full of the emotion and physicality that the role of Bob Price demands.

Written by Andrew Bovell and first staged by Frantic Assembly in tandem with Geordie Brookman's State Theatre Company in Adelaide, South Australia, this revived production retains its Australian setting, with references to dollars and an Aussie summer dress code by costume designer Ailsa Paterson, but Scott Graham's British cast members use their own accents, giving even more universality to an already universal piece.

Family dramas have been at the heart of theatre from Greek tragedies to Romeo And Juliet and Jacobean feuds, Sixties' kitchen-sink grimness to John Godber's Kings Of Hull this autumn. In Bovell's case, the question is what is the price of love in the Price family.

At the outset, we see Bob Price gradually leaning forward (supported by an invisible harness) under the weight of so many questions in his fretful head as the phone rings, possibly with bad news. In the gloom, this trick of the eye sets in motion a play that, like Kneehigh's work, is brilliantly choreographed, even crossing over into dance movements at times. Chairs speed across the stage, a table coming the other way, as an actor perfectly times sitting down; scene changes are all seamless, a show in themselves in Geoff Cobham's design, as is increasingly de rigueur, all to the accompaniment of Nils Frahm's music.

Yet it is the heightened union of the visual and the verbal that makes 'Things I Know' so powerful, so moving, amid the shards of humour too in Bovell's complex lattice of relationships.

Everyone will relate to the dysfunctional stresses and strains here, if not the precise details: a quiet father, made almost as redundant at home as he was from his car plant job; a strong, strongly opinionated mother, nurse Fran (Cate Hamer); one daughter, Pip (Seline Hizli), seeking love no matter the cost; her somewhat innocent younger sister Rosie (Kirsty Oswald), revising her list of what she knows to be true at the play's finale. One son, Mark (Matthew Barker), struggling for 20 years with who he really is; his younger brother, Ben (Arthur Wilson), desperate to fit with the high life of his work peers.

Bovell's writing is both beautiful and brutally truthful, his understanding of family dynamics reminiscent of those great Americans, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. Yes, Things I Know To Be True is that good.

Things I Know To Be True, Frantic Assembly/State Theatre Company, South Australia, at York Theatre Royal, tonight at 7.30pm; tomorrow at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Box office: 01904 623568 or at