THE Everyman is marking 60 glorious years as one of the UK's mould-breaking creative centres.

Long may it continue nurturing new talent in front of and behind the stage.

Tell me how it ends is written by talented 22-year-old Tasha Dowd, a graduate of the Everyman and Playhouse Writers Programme. In her impressive debut she ticks the boxes with a gently-powerful and well-paced, poignant new drama.

It is a love story set on Merseyside from 1987 to 1991.

A nostalgia trip, too, mentioning the clubs and venues from the theatres to the cinemas and nightclubs.

A mirror ball helps brings the audience back to the songs of the period, too, with a soundtrack featuring The Communards and Bryan Adams.

Director Gitika Buttoo ensures the focal point are the two actors, Emmy Stonelake as extrovert Aster and Luke Sookedo as introvert Marc.

And what a refreshing change to hear language nit peppered with expletives.

Aster, a lesbian, is a self-less hospital visitor who takes it upon herself to visit Marc who has HIV.

At first their relationship is one-sided. He doesn't want to hear her banter about books and movies where she is always giving away the ending, It's a lovely device used throughout the play.

Over time they become platonic lovers - a roller coaster ride over 100 minutes without an interval, The dialogue, at times, is sparkling.

We care about them both and that is a fine achievement in this two-hander.

It all takes place in a hospital ward, Aster's modest flat and Marc's sparse lodgings.

One political soliloquy at the close of play could be toned down as it may have a strong message about life in the late eighties and early nineties but it felt incongruous and preachy after the wonderfully-paced, carefully constructed scenes that go unfolded before.

That said, this is an outstanding first stage work by Tasha Dowd - a name to look out for.

I won't tell you how it ends - go and see for yourself.

In the programme notes proud Everyman chief executive Mark Da Vanzo says 'there is nothing better than telling stories that matter.'


VERDICT: Four stars - Tender and Touching

It is on until Saturday. Tickets from 0151 709 4776