CLIMB down the stairs of this cosy theatre, tucked away from the bustle of Leicester Square, and you find yourself descending into the murky Victorian underworld (at least, that's the idea). The tables are laid out cabaret style, draped with cheap silver tablecloths and topped with ivy, tea lights and oranges.
To complete the effect, masked waiters wander round handing out tumblers of ginger beer.
Ruby in the Smoke's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, attempts to immerse the audience in the depths of forbidden 1890s London from the off.
The first half roars by in a haze of brilliantly delivered one-liners, with much of the humour coming from the cast's mock disapproval of their surroundings and, in particular, the audience.
At one point Lord Henry (played by a brilliantly sneering Vincent Manna) dismisses the theatre as one of those 'awful places with oranges on the tables and ginger beer', before giving the audience a withering look and shuddering as he runs a gloved hand over one of the tables.
But the star of the show is Mr Isaacs, a wonderfully hammed-up act by James Lloyd Pegg, full of knowing touches like his little cough at the overpowering artificial smoke.
The cracks only begin to appear as things get a bit darker after the break, when Dorian (who, in case you didn't know, stays eternally youthful while his portrait ages in his place) hurtles towards the depths of depravity.
Despite Joe Evans' atmospheric score, there's rarely a sense of real threat or tension - like Wilde himself, the five-strong ensemble cast (including Britannia High's Matt Thomas as the eponymous antihero) seem more comfortable rattling off the witty repartee.
Perhaps the one exception is Ilan Goodman as the artist Basil Hallward, whose eyes burn with the jealous obsession at the heart of the novel - but maybe that's because he gets none of the great man's best lines.
As I stumble out into the bright lights and litter-strewn streets of noughties London, I'm left feeling that, for all its faults, you'd be hard-pushed to spend a more entertaining and involving couple of hours at the theatre.