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Review: Di and Viv and Rose is exceptionally good

Di and Viv and Rose is a play by British writer Amelia Bullmore that has just had its New Zealand debut at The Pumphouse in Auckland.

It begins in 1983 when the three eighteen year old women become flat mates. They are all very different, and at first, it seems dubious that they will get along.

Di (Eilish Moran) is a young Scotswoman who is adventurous, sporty, loyal and outspoken, but she is also coming to terms with her sexuality. Viv (Jodie Dorday), studious and a serious feminist, she’s also a cynic in many ways, but perhaps at times, a little too concerned with her own needs, and she’s a bit judgy. Rose (Lisa Chappell) is a little bit posh, vivacious, and sexually adventurous, but she is also kind and supportive. It is she that brings the trio together. 

Setting up a house together comes with all the usual tensions over money and shared chores, but between them, they build a happy home and support one another through triumphs and troubles. 

Dorday, Moran, and Chappell are the perfect trio to pull off what is a brilliantly written play with many great moments. Their combined chemistry and interplay makes this more than just a story of three women making their way in the world. The trio are so good together it is literally like watching three real-life friends. 

Observing these characters change and grow over the years is wonderful. The humour and love in the script is striking, but as with life, Di and Viv and Rose throws in a few curve balls and is not afraid to show the ugly side of life.

At the end of act one there is an incident of violence against one of the characters. The event itself is not shown, but the way the play handles the aftermath is masterly and incredibly emotional. In this moment, all three actors create a riveting piece of drama.

Di and Viv and Rose is a fictional story, but it is a beautiful and moving portrayal of friendship, expertly performed, that has left me with a strong sense of how wonderful it would be to meet three woman like them. 

DI AND VIV AND ROSE

The Pumphouse Theatre 10 Nov – 20 Nov 2022
Tickets $39 full / $30 concession / $25 Under 25 / $30 Friends of The Pumphouse

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