Di & Viv & Rose (In an Hour)

Amelia Bullmore
Handmade Theatre
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Students fresh to university often find themselves being allocated, or impulsively agreeing to share, accommodation in a very haphazard way. It can lead to a very unusual combination of housemates.

And so it is in Handmade Theatre’s Di & Viv & Rose (In an Hour). The three young women occupying one house do seem an unlikely mix.

Rose (Georgie Oulton) may be the organiser of the share but it is Di (Louisa Harland), a business student into sport, and Viv (Allegra Marland), studying sociology, who seem worldlier.

Rose is generous, cooks the food, is always chatty and is excited about the “field of boys” out there whom she has just discovered: “if you ask them to go to bed with you, they do.”

She has even got the time to support Di, a lesbian with an interest in a student she has not been able to talk to.

“Just ask her. That’s what I do” says Rose.

And though the others worry about Rose’s recklessness, we wish they shared something of her untroubled spirit. Viv may know where she is going and have the intense determination to get there but you can’t help feel that her single-mindedness might carry a heavy penalty of stress.

This fast-paced, confident production takes us through some thirty years of their friendship. The audience rarely stops laughing except for those sensitive moments of trouble when the women face a rape victim and later the death of a person close to them.

Strong, engaging performances hold our attention and, even if some of us raise an eyebrow at the deliberate situation comedy female stereotypes and the lack of a world beyond this fine friendship between women, we can’t fail to enjoy its warm-hearted message.

Keith Mckenna