ESK Valley Theatre has done it again – chosen a good play and great actors, giving local people a chance to see excellent theatre on their doorstep. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Esk Valley opts for a Willy Russell comedy which explores the themes of age, taste, dreams and restlessness on a 1980s Northern housing estate.

On the eve of Dennis Cain's 40th birthday, he is feeling out of place in the comfortable, well-appointed bungalow he shares with his wife Pauline (and their off-stage young son). But will his feelings of being trapped infect Pauline and their old friends Jane and Roger, who have now become stalwart kingpins of their Phase Two section of the Castlehills estate?

Director Mark Stratton has skilfully heightened the humour with energy and well-placed movement. Restless Dennis crouches on the sofa, leaps over it and lies on the floor completely unrelaxed making actor David Smith mesmerising to watch. We feel his frustration, but we're also entertained by his offbeat view of the world. Andy Cryer plays Roger’s interview game, frisbee enthusiasm and counter-vandal stance with wonderful physical humour.

All the actors show a great variety of accents, facial expressions and emotions. Pauline Cain’s stuffy, upwardly mobile personality is transformed convincingly by Laura Bonnah from making napkin fans obsessively to the moments of tenderness she shares with Dennis. Joanne Heywood (making a welcome return to EVT) is equally strong in portraying the two sides of Jane Fuller’s character, both measured by her belief in being organised.

Most of us can relate to wanting to retreat into a safe world that we know, but underneath the surface is possibly someone we used to be, someone more daring and adventurous, responding to Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan songs instead of the sugary ease of John Denver…

Runs until Saturday, August 30. Tickets on 01947-897587

Emily Thwaite