Di and Viv and Rose


Since the play has a relatively short run of just one month, and the Hampstead Downstairs does not hold any formal press nights, it is unlikely that the main stream press will run any reviews of this play. However, that doesn’t stop fans from expressing their views. We have rounded up some of the reviews which have been published on fan blogs since the play opened on 14 September 2011.

@Mrs_Hat, a fan, went to the opening night of this play and here’s her review (edited from the original version on her blog, with her knowledge and consent) :

Never before has the phrase ‘Bonkers but Briliant’ been more appropriate. High praise indeed for Amelia Bullmore’s new play, some fascinating dialogue in there along with a good look at friendship through the ages.

Claudie Blakely is young naive Rose, who sleeps with anything that moves. Nicola Walker, as usual, is full of energy and plays Viv, the stoical one, doing a dissertation on corsets at university. Tamsin Outhwaite is the bolshy lesbian, sporty but soft underneath Di.

We start the play in 1983 with them moving into student accommodation. Initially they live across the hall from each other. Nicola is the second person on the stage, while Rose is on the phone. Before long they’ve formed a friendship and are moving into their own home. I will say (again) Nicola is tiny and so pretty, she seems so at home on the stage.

Lots of laughter as time moves on, the girls move into the house, argue over the washing, discuss boyfriends etc. There is a huge scene, and sadly I cannot remember whereabouts it is in the play, where the girls put the music on loud and dance, proper rocking out, air guitars, headbanging the whole lot. Nicola gets on the sofa and jumps on it like a child would. She throws herself over the back twice! The sheer amount of energy she possesses is amazing! 

[At a later gathering between the friends,] Viv gets absolutely hammered, which begins with Nicola crawling on the floor. Nicola is amazing, plays the drunk incredibly well.

The final scene is a memory, the night they spent dancing and leaping around in the living room, a fitting end to a play about friendship.

There were a few tiny tiny slip ups which are to be expected on the first night with an audience. The phone was tripped over and the wire caught in shoes and in the bicycle wheel at one point. Nicola spent a good portion of the play barefooted (!!) whilst the others had shoes on. I can only imagine how many times she had her feet trodden on during rehearsals. The dance scene was done with her barefooted and it was quite obvious that the others were trying hard to avoid treading on her feet. There were several incidents where when the lights went out you heard the bicycle hit the wall as they wheeled it through the door. I was worried someone would walk into the wall but they didn’t. A favourite slip up of mine was when Di was off stage and you could clearly hear her say “Where’s my coat?!” to an assistant behind the wall.

Definitely a slow starter but once you’re caught you don’t want to leave them, you become so intwined in their lives its a wrench to see them hurting. This is definitely a show for the girls, it veers from the sublime to the extreme but it highlights Nicola’s skills beautifully, being so close to them as well you can really see her shine.

The stage is on plain floor, with tiered seating for the audience. With maximum seating for only 80, you get incredibly close to the action on stage. I cannot wait to go see this play again!

Here is a review from Rev Stan’s Theatre Blog.

HERE is a review from the Monkey Matters Blog.

A very positive review from There Ought to be Clowns.

Update : 24 September 2011

The Hampstead Theatre has now included a Reviews section on the webpage for this production.

If you have seen the play and would like to contribute a review. Email Us and we will include it here.

Update : 30 October 2012

There will be a repeat run of this play at the Hampstead Theatre from 17 January 2013 to 23 February 2013. This time, the play will move from the small Downstairs space to the much bigger Main Stage upstairs at the Hampstead. For more information, LOOK HERE. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts (Nicola has other filming commitments during the play’s repeat run), she will not be reprising her role as “Viv”. We’re sure that Nicola is gutted about missing out on going back to this play, since she has told fans that apart from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Di and Viv and Rose is one of her favourite plays to have acted in. Gina McKee will take over the role of “Viv”. Claudie Blakeley will also not be reprising her role as “Rose”. Anna Maxwell Martin will take over this role.

We’re kind of relieved that Anna Maxwell Martin will not take over the role of “Viv”. There is enough confusion as it is over whether AMM is actually Nicola (no, they’re different actresses), whether they are related (no, they are not) or whether AMM played Ruth Evershed in Spooks [TV] (no, she did not). It would be interesting to watch how Anna interprets “Rose”. We thought that Claudie Blakeley was pitch perfect as “Rose” during the play’s initial run.

Click to go to the next page to read the Editor’s Review and more bits and pieces (both relating to the play’s initial run) …

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