GREGORY’S Girl will resonate with anyone who is or has ever been a teenager. This stage version of the popular 80s film of the same name, being performed at Ilkley Playhouse this week and next, is a funny, touching and hugely entertaining play which picks up on all the trials and tribulations of being a teenage boy.

Directed jointly by Nikki Ford and Jamesine Cundell-Walker and in an expansive and versatile set (with a stunning back drop) designed by Paul Woodhouse, the play opens to the strains of Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon. First we meet two football teams: the boys’ team – all show and no substance, and the girls’ team, whose warm up looks like it might actually be effective. It is perfectly clear that the boys don’t have a chance of success and this fact is confirmed when the goal tally against them is totted up.

The boys’ team however is brilliant at displaying all the symptoms of being teenagers in love (lust), of developing passions, either for girls or baking and at being generally inept!

Top of the list of the charmingly naïve teenagers is Gregory of course. Rob Paul has taken on this role and manages beautifully to appear gawky and gangly and without a clue how to charm a girl. In fact the closest he gets to a voice of reason is when he discusses matters with his younger (yet older) sister Madeleine. Lee (Elise) Abbott plays this part with great self-assurance, every inch the agony aunt.

The object of Gregory’s desire is a fabulously talented footballer with the potential to salvage the ailing team’s fortunes. Dorothy,( Sophie Armitage), is tall, statuesque and unobtainable being far more interested in the beautiful game than in some daft lad in a borrowed jacket. So after some cunning manipulation on the part of the much better organised girls, Gregory ends up Susan (Ellen O’Keeffe) instead. And this being teenage love he doesn’t seem to mind at all!

Surrounding this central lovelorn tale is a large cast of energetic teenagers all of whom play their parts with confidence and clarity – they have clearly been well drilled to speak up and it pays off because each line is delivered audibly and with aplomb. And the dance break before the interval is superb! Great cameos from John Wise, Bruce Sturrock and Nicky Burrows, playing the poor hapless teachers striving to steer their charges to success, complete the cast.

This is a play for all times and should be appreciated by all ages – there can be few amongst us who haven’t once shared the sentiments here. Actually, whether you are fourteen, forty or ninety four, this play would make an ideal first-date. Go on, dare you!? It runs until December 16.

by Becky Carter