Review: Jess And Joe Forever, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until November 10. Box office: 01723 370541 or at

JESS And Joe Forever is the play that won Newcastle writer Zoe Cooper the title of Most Promising Playwright in last year’s Off West End Awards.

Apparently, the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre are now working on turning that promise into new works. Meanwhile, what a coup by the SJT to snap up Cooper's twisting and turning, tender and frank two-hander for its regional premiere in the McCarthy, the upstairs theatre turned into a Norfolk sea front.

There we meet Jess (Kate Hargreaves), a girl on holiday from the big city, and Joe (Misha Butler), whose home is by the wayward sea. "We want to tell you our story," say the two contrasting 15 year olds, but they will each want to tell it their way, even arguing over controlling a microphone( a device introduced to the play by director Lotte Wakeham), and sometimes even playing each other. In other words, the other's perception of each other.

Cooper's story takes them back to when they first met, seven years earlier, and through the ensuing years, as their circumstances and bodies change (without giving too much of the plot away!) in a coming-of-age tale full of soil, secrets and Scotch eggs.

What unites them is that both are outsiders, and Cooper writes with insight, wit and great understanding of young people trying to find their place in the world. Wakeham's cast responds with beautifully nuanced, endearing performances, Hargreaves and Butler showing huge promise for their careers ahead.