Pros: The acting is very intense.
Cons: The plot and the characters are too stereotypical.
Handmade Theatre‘s abridged production of Di & Viv & Rose is structured like a situation comedy. The story follows the lives of three young girls, who move in together to go to university and, even with the odd skirmish, unconditionally support each other when life throws at them the most horrible things. Despite the recurring dramas, the play is cheerful, with a warm atmosphere and, beyond each tragic news, a happy ending to reassure the audience.
However, after leaving the auditorium with a feel-good sensation, it took me over 24 hours to realise what didn’t add up, the primary problem for me being the stereotypical depiction of each character. Di (Louisa Harland) is gay and even makes jokes about dressing like a lesbian, with oversized tracksuits and androgynous looks. Viv (Allegra Marland), on the contrary, is very stylish, mainly focused on her job and, consequently, not at all interested in dating and finding a partner. The more she progresses with her career, the more we’re led to believe that she’s cold-tempered and asexual. Rose (Georgie Houlton) is an optimist, very warm and friendly with everyone. As it happens, she’s also quite open sexually and, inevitably, she soon finds herself pregnant, with six potential candidates as the father of her child.
The three actors are exceptional in bringing these characters to life, although the palette they are offered for their portrayals is quite limited. Their coverage of the space is well-choreographed and works to engage with both sides of the traverse stage.
In this condensed version of Amelia Bullmore’s 2013 play, mutual support, sexual liberation, homosexuality, rape, illness and death are touched in rapid succession, with a span of 30 years covered in just an hour. The outcome is a touching but underdeveloped drama, with shallow characters and a predictable unfolding.
Written by: Amelia Bullmore
Directed and Performed by: Louisa Harland, Allegra Marland and Georgie Oulton
Producer: Handmade Theatre’s
Box Office: 0131 581 5555
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/di-viv-rose-in-an-hour-by-amelia-bullmore
Booking Until: 14 August 2018