AS playwright Ali Taylor explains, two tribes of Goths attend Whitby's Goth Weekends in the spring and at Hallowe'en: "the real, or trad, goths and the people who just like to dress up".

You suspect that real goths, should they see this world premiere, might consider this co-production by the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, and Live Theatre, Newcastle, to be just dressing up.

It never quite feels "real" or plausible, but, as it happens, that is in keeping with Taylor's probing theme, working out who we are and what we pretend to be and why. "In a conflicted world, this play is a celebration of not quite fitting in," he writes in his programme note.

Goth Weekend's story is seen through the eyes of Anna (SJT newcomer Amy Trigg), a teenage girl growing up in a town – Scarborough – where being different is difficult; where conforming is the norm. Anna does not let her wheelchair be an encumbrance; she is sparky, opinionated, headstrong.

Her mum gone too soon, nevertheless she is determined to fix up dates for her father Ken (Sean McKenzie, from the SJT's The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice cast earlier this summer).

In the lead-up to Whitby Goth Weekend, widowed plumber Ken encounters the whirlwind Belinda (SJT debutante Jessica Johnson), a Gateshead Goth who performs as Belle Epoch, once part of her ex-partner's mega Goth band, now doing covers – or "interpretations" as she calls them – of Siouxsie songs in pub back rooms to next to no-one.

They end up back at his place, along with all her goth motifs, her purple hearse and her son Simon (Gurjeet Singh), who is yet to decide his sexuality, wears the Goth gear and plays keyboards somewhat reluctantly but dutifully for his mum, but feels homesick and knows he needs to make the break to establish his own individuality.

Ken, the epitome of the dodgy-dancing dad, begins to arm himself in the Goth clobber, pretending to be what he isn't, to please effervescent Belinda; he has definitely entered his discomfort zone, but how far do you go to be with someone in the aftermath of loss? In turn, might Belinda have had enough of the Belle Epoch act and crave something more stable, more Ken?

It is this story that feels somewhat far-fetched, but Taylor writes better of family relationships: father and daughter, mother and son, and what happens when the seemingly polar opposites collide. Here the warm-hearted comedy, pathos and kitchen-sing drama combine well, particularly on the matters of growing up and what it feels like to be an outsider in today’s society.

Paul Robinson's production is lively and fun, with not a little poignancy too in its darker second half; the performances start off a little broad, reaching for the comedy, but gradually they come to remind you of Jim Cartwright's character comedies, especially Johnson's Belinda, who has something of Little Voice's Marie Hoff about her, craving love and approval.

Goth Weekend, in The McCarthy, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until October 7. Box office: 01723 370541 or at