Must See: Di and Viv and Rose, Hampstead Theatre, London

All the light moves from a winning riff on life and loss

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The Independent Culture

Amelia Bullmore's three-hander may not be "experimental" but it achieves what it sets out to do – show how the lives of a trio of women are shaped by their friendship over 27 years – with warmth and perceptiveness.

There's a natural chemistry between the actors in Anna Mackmin's smashing production. The proceedings begin in 1983, when the trio bunch join forces in an undergraduate house-share. Posh Rose (Anna Maxwell Martin) is open to life; Gina McKee's Viv is academically driven; and Tamzin Outhwaite's Di wants to cram in as much term-time lesbianism as she can.

A sexual assault tests their solidarity, but the play wears its feminism lightly. The dialogue is hilarious yet one eloquent sequence is non-verbal – a delirious bop to a Prince record. The long vista of the years helps Bullmore to show the way that life and friendship inform each other, and how mutual memories can contain both grievances and the means to dissolve them in shared laughter.

(020 7722 9301; to 23 Feb