Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Friday, 18 August 2017
Di and Viv and Rose, Aug 17, 2017 ***1/2
THEATRE Written by Amelia Bullmore, Melbourne
Southbank Theatre, The Sumner, until Sept 16, 2017 Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Aug 17, 2017 Stars: ***1/2
Review also published in Herald Sun Arts online on Friday, Aug 18, 2017 & in print on Tues Aug 22.
is a joy to witness such entertaining, nuanced and credible performances as those
of the three women playing the mismatched trio in Di and Viv and Rose by UK
writer and actor, Amelia Bullmore.
play depicts the evolution of a quirky but enduring friendship that begins in
the 1980s when three seemingly incompatible first year university students, Di
(Nadine Garner), Viv (Belinda McClory) and Rose (Mandy McElhinney), share a
flat, negotiate their many differences,
support each other in crises and form a lasting bond.
portrayal of their early years is the most successful part of Bullmore’s play
and Marion Potts’ production, with its witty dialogue, playful performances and
dramatic action that focuses exclusively on the characters’ relationships.
later snapshots of this odd trio’s meetings are less satisfying, lacking the
detailed character and relationship development and energy of the earlier
Rose, the sweet natured and promiscuous art history student, McElhinney
portrays a spirited bounciness in her early years that transforms into resilience
when Rose faces disappointment in later life.
brings vivacity and vulnerability to Di, the sporty lesbian who studies Business
and still hides her sexuality from her parents.
gives sensitivity and emotional complexity to Viv, the bolshy, pompous academic
who shakes off her working class roots, studies the sociology of women’s fashion
and achieves her career ambitions.
trio’s comfortable intimacy is hilariously evident in an unforgettable scene when
they dance with drunken abandon to 99 Luftballons by German artist, Nena.
exuberant energy excuses some script and production problems, such as two
sudden and arbitrary plot turning points and some rather clunky scene changes
that involve opening and closing of enormous sliding panels.
This play will resonate
with audiences, particularly women, and it boasts three of Australia’s best
actors so perhaps we can forgive its flaws and the frustratingly unsatisfying