Last year Clive Francis made one of his many Richmond Theatre appearances in Lucy Prebble's acclaimed play, Enron.

Now the Hampton resident is back at the famous venue starring in a new show, William Douglas Home's The Reluctant Debutante, and he says it couldn't be more different than the edgy, modern satire of Enron.

Francis explains: “It is completely different – it is a gentle, nostalgic comedy of the 1950s and it has been well received everywhere we've been with it.

“It's champagne writing that fizzles along. It is close to farce in many places and there is some romance in there too – it's a perfect Richmond show.”

In the play, Francis plays upper-class chap Jimmy Broadbent who is desperate for his daughter to be married off to a respectable toff with impeccable manners – but she has other ideas.

Francis adds: “The last thing Jimmy's daughter wants to do is go to all of these wretched debutante balls but in those days it was the natural thing to do if you came from that kind of background.

“It was important you didn't marry the grocer's son from next door – it was terrible really and luckily things have changed quite a lot in that respect.”

Another Richmond Theatre regular Jane Asher joins Francis in the cast, playing Jimmy's snobbish wife Sheila, and the show that runs at the venue for six nights from Monday.

The Reluctant Debutante, Richmond Theatre, March 14-19,