IT’S five years since the First World War ended yet its legacy is an open wound that weeps at the slightest touch.

There are ghosts everywhere but we should not be fooled into making the mistake that there is any real distinction between the lot of the living and the dead.

For as this adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel so astutely demonstrates, the frontiers of existence are now blurred in the extreme within a world haunted by catastrophe.

Septimus Smith may have been diagnosed with shell-shock but all he can expect from the doctor is to be told to pull himself together and fall back to that reserve trench of a stiff upper lip to get through.

Yes, shocking to modern sensibilities, but not wholly unexpected, given the times.

Smith becomes very much a flesh and bones character and this is all the more amazing because Dalloway is actually a one-woman performance by Dyad Production’s Rebecca Vaughan who once again dazzles a Worcester audience with her genius for narrative and characterisation.

She de-materialises seemingly at will, flipping from one individual to the next in the blink of the eye. One moment she is the comfortable lady of means throwing a society party, the next a mentally shattered veteran with the thousand yards stare.

She flits about the stage and changes role with chameleon speed, changing from dismissive doctor to top drawer Clarissa Dalloway in a trice. Her talent has to be seen to be believed. She not only acts, she takes possession of a role.

And it’s all the more amazing because there is no interval in this piece of nearly an hour-and-a-half so there’s no respite for this remarkable actor. Yet she never tires of delivering an unflagging and continually demanding dialogue that has undoubtedly been improved by writer and director Elton Townend Jones’ revamp of a complex original work.

After the curtain came down, Worcester rewarded Rebecca Vaughan with an encore for her night of triumph. And no ovation was more richly deserved.