Di and Viv and Rose
Until Sat Feb 23
Time Out rating:
Not yet rated
Time Out says
Fri Jan 25 2013
In the '70s, the old Hampstead Theatre staged Pam Gems's 'Dusa, Fish, Stas and Vi', in which four women share a flat and struggle in a man's world.
Amelia Bullmore's appealing new play, elevated to the main house after a run last year at the Hampstead Downstairs, is about three students who share a flat in the '80s and remain friends as their lives take them in very different directions.
The situation is hardly original but rich in possibility as the young people discover who they are and what they want from life. Anna Maxwell Martin's Rose is a bit flaky – enthusiastic about everyone, including most of the men on campus. She compulsively prepares meals for her flatmates to eat. Tamzin Outhwaite's Amazonian Di is sporty and gay. Gina McKee's Viv is an ambitious, militant sociologist who wears '40s dresses.
The whole of the first half is set in the flat, so that the actors, rather oddly, only play their own age towards the end of the play. Although the doorbell frequently rings, there are no other characters and the outside world rarely impinges. No mention of Thatcher for instance.
It's the energy of Bullmore's writing that appeals as the friendships wobble and then deepen in the face of a series of crises. When one of them gets assaulted, they set up camp in the living room and sleep together. A night out leads to a furious bout of air guitar, dancing, and falling over the sofa. Under Anna Mackmin's shrewd direction, Bullmore's play is a blast and in the end surprisingly emotional.