You are warned at the door that there will be blood and use of strong language...

But the play starts quietly, slowly and with great humour as imperial guards and best mates Humayun (Devesh Kishore) and Babur (Luke Murphy) keep watch as the final touches are made to the wondrous Taj Mahal behind them. The emperor has decreed that no one, except those working on the masterpiece, should see the building until it is finished.

Humayun is the son of the guards’ chief - ramrod straight and strictly-by-the-book. Puppyish Babur is all shiny eyed innocence and humour, full of imagination and make believe, though his childish ideas strike at weighty targets.

The two guards steal a look as dawn breaks and within 24 hours learn that such beauty also has barbaric and tragic consequences.

The play is based around the myth that emperor Shah Jahan ordered that all 20,000 who worked on the building should have their hands cut off so that its beauty could not be repeated.

The two dutiful members of the imperial guard are ordered to carry out the task - one to chop and one to cauterise.

The actors will win all the plaudits, but it is both beautifully and grimly realised by director Kash Arshad, designer Elizabeth Wright, sound designer Mark Melville and lighting designer Robbie Butler.

Kishore and Murphy are both excellent and play off each other superbly with the humour and the tragedy - but Murphy edges it as his lifeforce is crushed by the fact that he had to butcher 20,000 innocent people on the whim of his ruler.

It will not appeal to everyone, but in many ways, this is the play of the summer season at the theatre. Written by Rajiv Joseph, this is a regional premiere for the award-winning piece and should not be missed.

Whether it is a Greek classic, a play about child abuse or the crushing despair of the loss of a child, the studio has hosted many powerful, unsettling and moving pieces. And this is up with the best of them.