“Di & Viv & Rose” by Amelia Bullmore
Lace Market Theatre.
Lace Market Theatre.
I first saw this play only a couple of weeks ago at the Nottingham New Theatre and immediately fell in love with the play, the humour, the comradeship and the warmth of the characters and the writing.
Di, Viv and Rose are three students at a northern university who in 1983 decide to share a house. Rose, whose stepfather buys the property, is a free-spirited art history student who sleeps with any boy she likes the look of.
Her companions are Di, a sports-loving lesbian who is taking business studies; and Viv, a sociology student with a fierce work ethic. On the surface, they seem unlikely friends. But that is very much the author’s point: her play, which takes us up to 2010, shows how their solidarity survives physical separation, varied career paths and even mortality.
This is a play written by a woman, about women but for everyone to enjoy, and, as a male of the species, it gives a little insight into the workings of the female mind.
One thing that unites the three is music and this also helps pin down the time line of the play as it travels through the years. One of the highlights of the play is when all three are dancing around to Prince’s hit “Let’s Go Crazy”.
The play is well balanced with plenty of laughter and comical moments alongside many sobering scenes, and there’s a scene in Act Two that, if you didn’t know the play, as I didn’t when I saw it for the first time, which really virtually smacks you round the face and makes your jaw drop.Looking around at this particular time in the play, I could see women dabbing their eyes.
Charlie Osborne (Di) turned in a brilliant performance which at several stages of the play was in danger of letting the character's emotions overspill. Di is one of those characters who wouldn't want to get emotional, but was not afraid to show emotion, when in the right company. Charlie measured these scenes to perfection and by holding in Di's emotions, made us feel more emotional towards her.
Emily Kelsey (Viv), again an excellent performance as the headstrong writer who gets to where she wants to be by bloody-mindedness and hard work. Emily also plays a very convincing drunk, not over the top, but measured, unlike her drink, Viv's that is, not Emily's. Emotion packed and powerful.
Alex Milligan (Rose) gives a wonderfully fun and care-free performance with a naive outlook on her sex life. Basically this girl just wants to have fun, and it's fun to watch Alex in all of her fun naivety.
The three characters in the play grow to be lifetime sisters in arms and you can see that these three amazing actors have a certain connection because they make the relationship on stage look real and totally believable. You feel the love between these three women.
Directed by Carole Phillip, who has given us a wonderful, heart-warming piece of theatre. She has wrung every ounce of emotion from these three actors, which I personally loved.
There was no set as such, and at first, having being spoilt by a wonderful set a couple of weeks ago with the same play at a different theatre, I completely forgot the sparseness as I was beckoned into Di, Viv & Rose's lives and once more swept up into this wonderful story. I didn't need a set and neither did they.
The costumes reflected the eras we were transported through, especially Rose's early Whitney Houston style.
My only niggle was that when drinks were being served into the women's glasses, there was no wine, no cider, no liquid. This invisible drink was then consumed.It would have looked so much better if when pouring drinks, or serving soup, that there was some liquid involved. I know it's only a minor thing but I love realism. Not a detraction, just an observation.
I loved this play after I first saw it, I love this play the more I see it and I love the way this play was presented. Basically I just love this play.
“Di & Viv & Rose” is at the Nottingham Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 8 April 2017 but to the best of my knowledge looks to be sold out, but it may be worth checking for tickets on the day.