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THEATRE REVIEW – “Di and, Viv and Rose“ by Amelia Bullmore – New Vic Theatre

7 September 2017 Theatre


The latest production at the New Vic Theatre is a short run of  “Di and Viv and Rose” written by well known TV actor, Amelia Bullmore. It has transferred to the New Vic for just one week after a successful run at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough .

The play tells the story of three very different students, the women of the title, who meet at university in 1983 and decide to house –share. Di ( Polly Lister) is a sporty , gay girl who has come to university to escape claustrophobia at home with her mother. Viv ( Grace Cookey- Gam) is a graceful intellectual who dreams of life in New York and will work as hard as need be to achieve that. Finally there is Rose ( Margaret Cabourn- Smith) the promiscuous girl who has also escaped her step-father and medicated mother back in a small village.

Through the course of the play we follow their lives from 1983 in a student house right through to 2010 to see how they grow and develop as friends. Along the way there is plenty of comedy but, a little warning, there is also some tragedy which doesn’t always sit well with the comedy and sometime feels like having a bucket of cold water tipped over the audience.

This is an entirely three- handed play with none of the other characters mentioned making an actual appearance and it is to the credit of the three actors that they carry the play for a full two hours. If there is to be a criticism it is that the first half of the play which covers their lives from 1983 to 1986 is a little long whilst the second half covers the remainder of the time and is just a little rushed.

The point that Amelia Bullmore seems to be making is that the characters of the three women are formed and moulded during the university years when they are living together. These years dictate how the following years pan out, with Rose becoming pregnant,  Viv getting a dream job in New York, while Di suffers a life changing event. Throughout the play their friendship changes in nature but it still remains a friendship.

The set is sparse and is simply made up of boxes and suitcases lining the side of the stage, maybe suggesting that the women take their baggage with them from university wherever they go. The direction by Lotte Wakeham is clever and keeps the pace of the play moving along well. Finally there is soundtrack of Eighties music which anyone of a certain age will recognise well.

“Di and Viv and Rose“ only runs until Saturday September 9th at the New Vic Theatre so you’ll have to hurry to get a ticket. Telephone the box office for tickets on 01782 717962 or email tickets@newvictheatre.org.uk

Written by Ian Corbishley – Hitmix Radio

Images by Tony Bartholomew / New Vic Website


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