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Di And Viv And Rose, Hampstead Theatre


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#1 fringefan

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 02:17 PM

Once again I expected to find a thread for this or thought that if I waited a while, someone else was bound to start one.  However, even if it falls to me again, I'm sure others can contribute to the discussion as there must be people here who have also seen this or have booked to do so or who saw the original production in the Studio downstairs at Hampstead.

I saw an early preview and though I enjoyed the play and laughed quite a lot, I've been surprised by the wildly enthusiastic comments I've since read elsewhere, particularly with reference to people being moved to tears.  Yes, there was much to enjoy but also some flaws (particularly with reference to implausible plot developments) and as for crying - why on earth, and at which point?  I do wonder whether younger people are simply more emotional these days, or perhaps given to hyperbole.  Loved the soundtrack, though!

#2 AnnieInTheStalls

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 02:29 PM

I'm seeing this on Saturday, so I'll let you know if I get something in my eye. Looking forward to it!

#3 Parsley

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:55 PM

Yes, I saw the original production and am seeing it tomorrow as well....I have to say it is the only time I have ever seen something twice...and I think Hampstead have been very clever in recasting with 2 actresses who people will certainly want to see onstage.

I am only speculating (shall report back more tomorrow) but I am not sure if the play loses something in a bigger space. I was very moved when I saw it last time (not quite to tears) but sitting about 1m from Tamzin Outhwaite whilst she gave the funeral speech did bring a lump to my throat.

Out of all the Hampstead Downstairs plays this one really stands out...and is easily the best play...which I think they recognised even first time round with the amazing casting they did.

Hampstead haven't quite pulled off the feat that the RC manages time and time again with their smaller auditorium and I would like to see them choose new plays more carefully and pay more detailed attention to casting in this venue. Perhaps it is next on their list, as Ed Hall has certainly managed a good job reinvigorating the main house programming!

As an afterthought, perhaps young people have been to university more recently than older people and this play brings back memories for them and evokes them with more potency...?

#4 Jon

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:07 PM

It seems to be selling very well, wonder if a West End transfer is on the cards, I imagine cast availability and theatre availability will be a factor in any future transfer.

#5 fringefan

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:11 PM

I look forward to your views then, AnnieInTheStalls and Parsley!  I think Parsley makes some very good points, both about this play in particular and Hampstead's programming in general.  I can quite imagine that the play might have lost something in transferring to the main stage, though not having seen the original production I'm not in a position to judge.  I do know that whenever I've seen a play before it transfers, I've felt fortunate and convinced that it wouldn't be as good in its new home (particularly true of another Hampstead production, Chariots Of Fire, as I felt the staging was so much better suited to Hampstead's auditorium, for which it had after all been designed), yet in the reverse situation, I've been convinced - obviously quite irrationally - that a production must have been just as good as in its original setting.  What I've never yet done is to see the same play twice, but in different venues, which would be the real test, though how you can really judge if there has been both a lapse of time and a partial cast change, as in this case, I don't know.

Parsley's comparison of the Studio programming with that of the Royal Court Upstairs seems very valid to me as the two venues seem to have similar aims and sources, but I agree that so far, Hampstead productions have been far more variable:  Lay Down Your Cross being the high point for me and Ignorance the nadir.

#6 KevinUK

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:03 PM

Also seeing this Saturday, glad to hear its a good one. My first visit to this theatre!
If I stay awake, it must be good.

#7 Parsley

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:50 PM

I think it has lost something in the transfer and the recasting....

I MUCH preferred the entire original cast.

Gina McKee is an excellent actress (in some ways better than all the others, more accomplished anyway) but I thought she was totally unsuited to this play.

I can vividly recall Nicola Walker in the same role.

In a similar vein, Anna Maxwell Martin is an outstanding talent, but Claudie Blakley did it that much better in this.

However, most people will not have seen the downstairs production so it won't make any difference to them!

#8 MrBarnaby

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 12:05 AM

Claudia Blakely was just incredible in it first time round. Outhwaite is always good too I think... One of our greatest actresses , I wish she'd get more recognition for her talent.

#9 AnnieInTheStalls

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:59 AM

Well Fringefan, I did not cry, though I could see why people would (at Di's speech). And I'm normally the soppiest person in the place.

This was pleasant enough, but I don't see what the fuss is about really. I didn't find it remotely convincing so didn't feel any emotional connection (except a bit with Di). Tamzin Outhwaite was great, and Gina McKee was excellent as the older Viv, but could never convince as a teenager. And when looking to cast the nymphomaniac (for want of better word) Rose, Anna Maxwell-Martin is the last person I'd pick (she was, however, very convincing as a nun in Measure For Measure at the Almeida).

There's a weird scene where they all dance to Prince's Let's Go Crazy which had me squirming with embarrassment, and another scene with much swearing which had me putting my hands over my face to make it go away. I don't normally squirm and hide when watching plays!

I'm being a bit unfair, as it has some lovely funny moments. I overheard a woman telling her companion at the end that it had been a "complete delight from beginning to end". I was disappointed though (and much preferred Port at the National later on).

#10 Jon

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 04:03 AM

I thought I was a good play, lots of funny moments I thought the second Act wasn't as good as the first Act. all three actresses were great especially Tamzin Outhwaite as Di. Given that the runs sold out, I imagine the show will likely transfer to the West End or tour in the near future,




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