Pals is a full-on, high-energy romp through childhood and adolescence, keeping pace with the soundtrack of my youth – Slade, Lindisfarne, it’s all there.
Pete, Andy, Linda and Sue are growing up in a Birmingham council estate and are mates, throughout everything, from lying on their backs making shapes out of the clouds as kids, being parted by the 11+, through discos and first kisses to the bittersweet experience of launching into adult life.
The cast are great, especially Amy Anderson, who plays Linda, the brightest of the bunch in many ways, but doomed to stack shelves in Woolworths. Philip John Jones, who plays Pete, couldn’t decide if he was a Brummie or Welsh and I thought it lingered a bit too long on early childhood, as their lives became way more interesting and complicated as they grew up. But the sheer energy of the young cast carried them through a good script, aided by an excellent sound track (especially if your own youth happens to fit the time frame). I didn’t expect the end, which comes suddenly and leaves you pondering life’s vicissitudes.
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See also: Simon Reilly leaves Tabard theatre