Imagine if The Inbetweeners (the second time we’ve referenced the hilarious Channel 4 show this week in a review) got stuck in a departure lounge after a week of beery mayhem in Malaga.

That’s a little bit what Departure Lounge is like. Only it’s a musical. And everyone has a hidden secret or angst in their lives. At least one of these can be spotted within about five minutes, but we’ll not spoil it.

Suffice to say that all of the four lads go experience the kind of rapid crisis and subsequent catharsis that only theatrical productions can offer. Along the way there are dance routines, songs about the frequent use of ‘gay’ among lads as an insult and Brits abroad, fighting, shouting and talking about shagging.

It’s frequently rather stagey as people do the ‘background banter’ thing that only people in theatre productions do – and all the rough-and-tumbling around the set seems similarly affected, and rather distracting, but all told Departure Lounge is a remarkably compact and tight little production.

It’s amusing and well-acted – Michael Fletcher as slightly dopey, foul-mouthed Pete and Hayley Roberts as well-observed scouse slag Sophie were particularly good – and the catchy, witty songs are well delivered; as are the energetic and creative dance routines.

All told it was a remarkably confident production by In Step Theatre, all of whom are currently finishing up being creative types at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.

70 minutes in the company of lads-holiday goons never seemed so attractive.

Departure Lounge runs until Saturday 4 February

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