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£1 Thursdays review – nightclubbing, sex talk and big decisions

In the cold air outside a sticky nightclub in Bradford, 17-year-olds Stacey and Jen are at a crossroads. In one direction lies the world they know: the family stress, the looming exams, the pumping pop beats at the club where they’ll reliably pull boys from school. In the other direction lies an uncertain path, and questions of who they are apart from one another, whether they could be the first in their families to go to university, and how to afford it if they do. Constantly on their minds, while they’re drunkenly dancing the nights away, is where they’ll end up, and what to do if they are the ones left behind.

Thoughtful if not revelatory, £1 Thursdays covers an uneasy period of big decisions in these characters’ lives, as the gap between them widens. Monique Ashe-Palmer (Six) is ebullient as Stacey, who is kind and confident until an older man comes along to confine her, to the frustration of Yasmin Taheri as Jen. They’re supported by Joseph Ayre as Stacey’s violent boyfriend and Sian Breckin as Jen’s sweet but underwritten mum, whose personality is reduced to the menopause.

The bare stage is cordoned off by nightclub barriers and swishing curtains which form toilet cubicles where the girls hold back their hair while they throw up, and hike up their cleavages with rubber fillets. Kat Rose-Martin’s script has an ease to their alcohol-soaked friendship, and a cheeky brazenness in the way they talk about sex. “If I get cum in my eye can I get Hermes?” Stacey queries, mistaking the STI for the clothes courier.

The plot is unsurprising but sprinkled with moments of sweetness. Directed by Vicky Moran, Ashe-Palmer and Taheri lift the more obvious moments, capturing the loneliness of growing up, the way friends can repeatedly fail each other, and the importance of showing up, dubious alcohol in hand, when they do.

• At Finborough theatre, London, until 22 December