Review: Di and Viv and Rose

Di and Viv and Rose
by Amelia Bullmore

Aged 18, three women from different walks of life come together as lodgers during their years at university. The play, written beautifully by Amelia Bullmore, charts the ups and downs of these women through the years as they navigate their different paths. It is a play ultimately about friendship, with its fun, arguments and love, but also explores themes such as abuse, sexuality and death.

Such a great play demands great direction and acting, both of which were evident at The Little Theatre. Di, the sporty lesbian, was played brilliantly by Donna Smithson. Donna gave us lovely moments of humour as well as convincingly portraying the after math of rape. The final scene where Di was at first ready to give up the friendship but then decided to forgive and accept some responsibility was performed both subtly and tenderly.

Viv, the ‘square’ of the group who writes earnest essays and who achieves her career goals through hard work, was expertly played by Donnamarie Stamp (who amazingly stepped into the role 3 weeks into rehearsals, as well as producing!) I was particularly impressed with the funeral scene where Donnamarie expressed the pain and emotion of losing a friend so believably. I did have a tear at this point.

Finally, the cheerful, carefree, promiscuous Rose saw a fantastic performance by Laura Kent. A wonderfully created character was performed by Laura with such passion and flair. I enjoyed her moments of fun and happy abandon and those of tenderness and fear. Laura really embodied Rose from head to toe and I loved the way she would smile after nearly every sentence, even the harrowing ones. A determination to see the positive in everything.

On top of this, the producer Donnamarie Stamp created fluid and seamless staging in the round, with very clever use of simple props and costume, helped greatly by the no fuss, expert stage crew. I really appreciated how the characters would change before us by grabbing items of costumes from boxes on stage and how a new space was created by simply turning things around. A real touch of brilliance was how the repositioning of a wooden chest became the coffin.

Lighting and sound played a vital role in giving the piece its punctuation and the music chosen by the producer helped to place each scene in both the right time and right mood.

I know this has been a real labour of love and it has truly paid off. Well done to the entire team!