Amelia Bullmore’s play about the friendship of three women throughout University and beyond is moving and honest, both about the hardships and successes that are found in the world around us. Though this play packs a punch and doesn’t shy away from hard hitting topics, it is often beautifully touching, revelling in the small moments of happiness that the three characters feel at various points in the play.

Though there were only three actors on the stage, there felt like many more. Amelia Bullmore’s script created a multi-textured world which introduced the audience not only to the complex characters of Di, Viv and Rose, played by Rachel Connolly, Laura Jayne Bateman and Sophie Walton respectively, but their wider families and social circles. The three titular characters were all conveyed brilliantly and convincingly, all of the actors having scenes in which they shone.

”Connolly’s Di is particularly brilliant in these scenes of heartbreak in the first act where her emotional vulnerability becomes so harrowing it is uncomfortable to watch”

The play starts with a series of short scenes that are incredibly funny and introduce us to the characters. Walton’s promiscuous and confident Rose excels in these earlier scenes by making the audience laugh as she manages to put her foot in her mouth on many separate occasions. However, as the play goes on it becomes suddenly very clear that the play won’t simply continue in the sitcom-like style that it started in.

Connolly’s Di is particularly brilliant in these scenes of heartbreak in the first act where her emotional vulnerability becomes so harrowing it is uncomfortable to watch. Throughout the ups and downs, Bateman provided a resolute Viv who was both admirably ambitious and steadfastly loyal. All three actors complemented each other’s acting styles and were a pleasure to watch.

”Certainly the set throughout the play, from the realism of the flat in the first act to the fluidness of the space in the second, worked incredibly well to accommodate and accentuate the acting”

The play is very definitely one of two acts and the director Ed Eggleton specifically picked up on this by making the two acts have very different atmospheres and stylistic decisions. One aspect which particularly worked in the second act was the large lit up dates on the back wall which provided a simple, yet clear, way of showing the passing of time and add a cohesiveness to the second act’s transitions. Certainly the set throughout the play, from the realism of the flat in the first act to the fluidness of the space in the second, worked incredibly well to accommodate and accentuate the acting.

The one thing that slightly irked me as an audience member was the strange variance between the different transitions in the first act; there seemed to be little or no similarity between one transition and the next. However, this was understandable considering the constantly changing tone of the script.

”I would even suggest that, despite the hardships that each of the characters face, as an audience we can’t help but see similarities between the characters and our own circle of close friends”

The play is remarkable in that, despite the abrupt and extreme situations that it encompasses, it still overall feels realistic, especially in its portrayal of the friendship between Di, Viv and Rose. In fact, I would even suggest that, despite the hardships that each of the characters face, as an audience we can’t help but see similarities between the characters and our own circle of close friends.

”Expect to laugh and fall in love with the three characters, just don’t expect an easy ride”

Director Ed Eggleton and producer Emma Macdonald have created a show which exhibits the roller-coaster quality of Bullmore’s script exquisitely. I would definitely recommend for a thought-provoking piece of theatre. Expect to laugh and fall in love with the three characters, just don’t expect an easy ride.

8/10 – Excellent, highly enjoyable

Daniel McVey

Image courtesy of the Nottingham New Theatre

‘Di, Viv and Rose’ is running at the Nottingham New Theatre until Saturday 25st March. For more information and where to find tickets see here

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