Di and Viv and Rose captures the journey of a friendship between three girls meeting at University, sharing a flat and despite being very different, becoming firm friends. They grow and share life’s experiences and help each other through difficulties and traumas. It is when they are older and looking back that they realise what a special bond they have created and how important it is to them.
The first Act depicts their student years in their student flat. Paul Wills’ design encompasses student life in the 80s well with mismatching furniture, dodgy crockery and a cassette player with its lead attached to the wall with masking tape. It is in this flat that the girls’ friendship becomes truly cemented. The somewhat shorter second Act then spans 20 years over several locations as the girls deal with life changes and unexpected curveballs.
Having previously seen and loved Jenna Russell in Merrily We Roll Along, Urinetown and Into the Woods, this was the first time I have seen her playing a non musical role and she didn’t disappoint. Her infectious enthusiasm came across in her character Rose who is bubbly, vivacious and loves life, food and men – lots of them.
Samantha Spiro (Chicken Soup and Barley, Hello Dolly) plays Viv, the most studious of the three, determined to take every opportunity open to her. She is strong, forthright and even her dress sense oozes individuality. It is only when things unravel she realises how important her friends are.
The third in the trio is sporty, gay and often the peacemaker Di brilliantly played by Tamsin Outhwaite (Sweet Charity). Di seems to be the glue that holds the girls together and although her character is somewhat stereotypical it does provide some comedic moments.
From their initial meeting we warm to the girls and get to know them throughout the eventful play. With Anna Mackmin’s skilful direction we genuinely begin to care for them and fell empathy when life doles them a rough deal.
Don’t misunderstand me – Di and Viv and Rose is neither deep nor complicated but playwright Amelia Bullmore has created a celebration of friendship which every woman will relate to and I defy any woman not to recognise a bit of themselves in one or more of these characters. The play gives us a scary intimate glimpse into our own lives.
I must admit I was unexpectedly moved by Div and Viv and Rose. I laughed and cried in equal measure and came home quite shaken. Maybe I related to it because it was set in my era, maybe because of the performances by this outstanding cast or maybe it simply reminded me to appreciate my own friends and pick up the phone a lot more.
I wholeheartedly thank Rebecca Felgate, a blogging beauty for inviting me along and suggest that you pop along to her website Official Theatre to buy tickets for Di and Viv and Rose or generally just watch her theatre video reviews.
Usually, I don’t give ratings to shows but this would be a five from me. Loved it!