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There’s something special about friends made when you first leave home. No matter how different from you they may be, share a house for a year or two and they’re likely to become a substitute family.

So although the trio of students in Amelia Bullmore’s delightful and poignant three-hander (largely recast and receiving a well-deserved transfer from the smaller space downstairs) comes from varied  backgrounds, the friendship forged when they move in together in 1983 is  one destined to last a lifetime.

Openhearted, upper middleclass Rose (Anna Maxwell Martin) who relishes her new sexual freedom far more than her art history course, Tamzin Outhwaite’s sporty, down-to-earth, lesbian Di (a business studies student whose mum has no idea her daughter is gay) and Gina McKee’s frumpy, guarded, academically intense Viv (who completely disowns her parents) bond and bicker over laundry, romantic crises and a vicious attack.

Time brings geographical separation and divergent paths, but this enduring friendship based on shared history remains a fluctuating constant whenever they manage to meet.

Bullmore (who’s also an actress) has written some cracking dialogue in a play spanning almost three decades.

It barely matters that the excellent cast is considerably older than the university-based first act demands.

The years just disappear when they let their hair down in a chaotically uninhibited dance round the living room - and a West End transfer surely beckons for Anna Mackmin’s compassionate, truthful and often very funny production.

Hampstead,
Eton Avenue, NW3 3EU
Tube | Swiss Cottage
Until 23rd February 
£22-£29
hampsteadtheatre.com


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Theatre review: Di and Viv and Rose at Hamstead Theatre, London
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