Previewed 22 January 2015, Opened 29 January 2015, Closed 14 March 2015 at the Vaudeville Theatre in London
Amelia Bullmore's acclaimed play Di and Viv and Rose in London starring Tamzin Outhwaite, Samantha Spiro and Jenna Russell.
1983. Aged eighteen, three women join forces at university. Di is a sporty lesbian, Viv is driven and academic and arty Rose is potty about boys. Together life is fun, living is intense and together they feel unassailable. But what happens over the next 27 years? Amelia Bullmore's new play is a funny and honest exploration of friendship's impact on life, and life's impact on friendship. This production transfers to London's West End following an acclaimed run at the Hampstead Theatre in 2013. PLEASE NOTE: Age limit 12 years and above.
The cast features Tamzin Outhwaite reprising her role as 'Di' (up to Saturday 28 March 2015 only) along with Samantha Spiro as 'Viv' and Jenna Russell as 'Rose'. This production is directed by Anna Mackmin with designs by Paul Wills, lighting by Oliver Fenwick and sound by Simon Baker.
When this production opened here at the Vaudeville Theatre in January 2015 Michael Billington in the Guardian commented that, "even if the play, spanning nearly three decades, occasionally falls into sitcom mode, it explores the highs and lows of female friendship with a good deal of comic brio," adding that "Amelia Bullmore has written three meaty roles and part of the fun of Anna Mackmin’s sprightly production lies in seeing the actors adjust to the ravages of time." Dominic Maxwell in the Times noted how, "even when the mood turns sourest, Amelia Bullmore has some blackly funny one-liners in reserve. It's a moving, memorable evening." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard wrote that "the performances in Anna Mackmin’s easy-going production are top-notch... this is heartfelt, watchable drama." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times said that "for every arguable flaw there is a countervailing unexpected richness... though not at all obtrusively sentimental, this is a play that makes you want to give it a hug." Serena Davies in the Daily Telegraph highlighted that: "We're told what to think rather often... But the girls are also funny, charming and bolshily argumentative, beautifully rounded out by all three actresses, who perform with great naturalism and heart... In the end, Di and Viv and Rose is a moving and surprising pleasure of an evening, that sends you out into the night with a lump in your throat." Neil Norman in the Daily Express held that "the play may be anorexic. But the characters are in the best of health... If the second half is a whistle-stop of the tragedies and triumphs of their post-student lives, it still stays on track thanks to Anna Mackmin's assured direction and the trio of superb performances. Women will flock to this. Men should."
This production, directed by Anna Mackmin, originally premiered at the Hampstead Downstairs Studio in September 2011 with a cast that featured Tamzin Outhwaite as 'Di', Nicola Walker as 'Viv' and Claudie Blakley as 'Rose'. The production was then remounted by Anna Mackmin in January 2013 at the Hampstead Theatre's Main Stage with Tamzin Outhwaite reprising her role as 'Di' along with Gina McKee as 'Viv' and Anna Maxwell Martin as 'Rose' when Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard described it as being "a big, warm-hearted piece about female friendship which doesn’t — as friends don’t — shy away from occasional hard-hitting home truths." Julie Carpenter in the Daily Express thought that "it amounts to an endearing, warm–hearted piece that is surprising, smartly funny and full of female banter and which reflects perceptively on what friendship really means and how it can be splintered and mended. Topics such as rape and loss are also tackled. Yes, it could perhaps be tightened but if the aim is to make an audience laugh and cry it succeeds on both counts." Michael Billington in the Guardian said: "I predict a big success for Amelia Bullmore's comedy, which has moved assuredly from Hampstead's downstairs space to the main stage. It connects emotionally with the audience, and is wittily written and vividly performed... a play that, whatever its flaws, is impossible not to like." Paul Taylor in the Independent noted how it showed "how the lives of a trio of women are shaped by their friendship over some twenty-seven years – in a manner that brims over with warm, effervescent humour and sharp, unsentimental perceptiveness," adding that "the dialogue is often hilarious." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times hailed it as being a "touching, funny new play." Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph wrote that "Anna Mackmin directs a sharply observed, richly enjoyable production, elegantly staged and mixing laughter with sudden jolts of pain and loss." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail commented that Miss Bullmore "writes a chatty, arresting elegy to friendship – I should perhaps say female friendship." Libby Purves in the Times noted how "it may be described (ie, written off by haughty chaps) as a women's-interest piece, but that would traduce something funny, universal and wise. It is about friendship, sexuality, and sex, growing up and changing tack, intimacy and comradeship, corsetry and careers, success, disaster and dissatisfaction."
Tamzin Outhwaite's West End credits include the title role in Matthew White's revival of the musical Sweet Charity (Haymarket Theatre 2010) and Matthew Warchus revival of Marc Camoletti's comedy Boeing Boeing (Harold Pinter Theatre 2007). Samantha Spiro's London theatre credits include Michael Grandage's revival of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night with Derek Jacobi (Donmar Warehouse 2008) and Loveday Ingram's revival of Alan Ayckbourn's comedy Bedroom Farce (Aldwych Theatre 2002). Jenna Russell's West End stage credits include the role of 'Penelope Pennywise' in Jamie Lloyd's staging of Urinetown The Musical (Apollo Theatre 2014), Maria Friedman's revival of Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along (Harold Pinter Theatre 2013), the role of 'Dot' in Sam Buntrock's revival of Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George (Wyndham's Theatre 2006), Sir Peter Hall's revival of David Hare's Amy's View (Garrick Theatre 2006) and Michael Grandage's revival of the musical Guys and Dolls (Piccadilly Theatre 2005). Anna Mackmin's stage directing credits include Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler starring Sheridan Smith (Old Vic Theatre 2012), Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa starring Andrea Corr and Niamh Cusack (Old Vic Theatre 2008) and David Eldridge's Under The Blue Sky starring Francesca Annis, Chris O'Dowd, Dominic Rowan and Catherine Tate (Duke of York's Theatre 2008).
"Nostalgia reigns supreme in this entertaining comedy written by actress Amelia Bullmore. The setting is a university in the North in the 1980s and the characters are three seemingly ill-matched students who decide to share a house together... With the clumsy introduction of a shocking event, the play moves on to more serious emotional territory as it follows the women into their post-university future. Di and Viv and Rose is cleverly staged and witty, with a great 80s soundtrack and fun outfits. But at its heart, it's a tribute to the power of female friendship." The Sunday Mirror
"Amelia Bullmore's determinedly heart-warming tale of changing lives and enduring female friendship sees Di, Viv and Rose meet in the early 1980s and set up an undergraduate house-share together... While the playwright lays on some irresistibly good one-liners, her storytelling is not what you'd call airtight. We follow the women up to 2010, and time's winged chariot dashes along at a pace that leaves precious little opportunity for psychological depth. It's watchable stuff, but you rather suspect a half-baked TV script has been plonked on stage." The Sunday Times
"It's the story of three girls who meet at university in the early Eighties, and how their lives and friendships change - being, as Friends would have it, 'there' for each other and, increasingly, it turns out, not there for each other as time goes by. No prizes for guessing it's a bitter-sweet tale; nor for guessing that it travels from youthful high-jinks to a custard-pie flinging fight of home truths... The script has its moments, capturing the salty, funny way women speak to each other in the absence of men. But ultimately, for me, it lacks fleetness of foot, lingering where it might move on, leaping too far because it has dawdled too long." The Sunday Telegraph
"Amelia Bullmore's play touches on almost every issue you can think of: sex, homosexuality, feminism, rape, death, pregnancy, motherhood, cancer, cooking, corsets... You name it, Bullmore embraces it. The result is a bit of a shambles, but a tremendously generous-spirited, attractive one, full of humour and insights into how women's minds and bodies work... The overlong first half takes us up to graduation; the second takes us into 2010, when it fizzles out. And yet you forgive it everything because this funny, touching play is as lovable as its characters, in spite of their flaws. Indeed, all the more because of them." The Mail on Sunday
Di and Viv and Rose in London at the Vaudeville Theatre previewed from 22 January 2015, opened on 29 January 2015 and closed on 14 March 2015.