£1 Thursdays ★★★ Finborough Theatre | Nov 28 - Dec 22, 2023

Young, Northern and working class! Stacey and Jen are best friends. They are seventeen and finishing school, and they also face leaving their comfort zone. Bradford and £1 Thursdays at Club Ocean are the world they have known, but now, they have other options that could threaten their friendship. Aspirations can be disconcerting and may disrupt the convenient covenant they have with each other and with their environment. Kat Rose-Martin has written a play that has a compelling authenticity. It is easy to identify with the girls' uncertainty and adolescent bravado, as we recognise their vulnerability and attachment to the familiar. It may be limited, but this is the life they are comfortable with. Unfortunately, this narrative also has a certain familiarity and predictability. The strain on teenage friendships as school ends and the challenge that social mobility places on youthful relationships is not new territory, and this reworking of the themes holds few surprises. The characters and their story lack a certain individuality and nuance. Nevertheless, Yasmin Taheri as Jen and Monique Ashe-Palmer as Stacey bring great conviction to their roles. Both ring absolutely true as the two besties who struggle with their loyalty and love, as they simultaneously choose and tumble into their new post-school leaving paths. Full marks also to Sian Breckin who plays Jen's empathetic mother, Leanne. The part is somewhat one note, but Breckin hits it beautifully. Reservations aside, £1 Thursdays certainly provides good value, offering an engaging insight into the lives of two young women who struggle to remain true to their past and present while striving to create their futures.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Alex Brenner

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