Bobby & Amy – Pleasance Courtyard

Written & Directed by Emily Jenkins

Runs at Pleasance Courtyard from July 31st – August 26th (not 12th) 12.45pm

Friends, though not at first, Bobby & Amy live their days like, dare say, a great many of us did. They have trouble at home, the hidden side of country small-town life. Both of them bullied, Amy for her peculiarities and Bobby for his savant capabilities, shamelessly referred to as ‘spastic’. They find each other though, companionship with several dozen dairy cows.

Set in the fields of the Cotswolds, predating and following the Foot and Mouth epidemic of the early 2000s – Emily Jenkins captures, in essence, something few else have done. Theatre around this is near non-existent, and as someone who grew up in a tiny farming-village, Jenkins captures the community crushing realism savagely.

Bobby & Amy sits comfortably with those productions which cover the loss of innocence and heartache. As such, comedy has a vital role in balancing things out. A lot of this lies in the lunacy of the townsfolks interactions, misunderstandings and slapstick.

Starring Will Howard and Kimberley Jarvis, Jenkins has struck gold with these phenomenal character performers. With twenty plus residents of the village, you would think one or two of them might be half-arsed, or just not up to scratch as the rest. Quite the contrary, despite only two performers on-stage each one of these neurotics has an individual personality, slouch or physical attribute and story behind them.

While stitching your sides back together, Jenkins writing, particularly authentic, has surprising warmth. Yet it takes chances, not for shock or awe but because it feels right. It’s a timeless tale, and while you can sense a late nineties vibe, it’s frozen in sepia of bruised knees, trees and hay bale tipping.

Bobby and Amy’s companionship feels tangible, as Amy discovers how to respond to Bobby’s unique brilliance, just as Bobby gains a tighter grasp of everyday life. Jarvis and Howard, for all their mayhem as side-characters, are enthralling as Amy and Bobby. The pre-teen angst, just on the cusp of childhood and teenage dramas, they bring a heap of top-class acting.

With its stripped-back set-up of two performers, an all-female production team and a poignant, enduring script, Bobby & Amy is a testament to the beauty of live theatre. Audiences have begun to get wind of the production’s quality, so while you can, take a trip to the Cotswold’s where you’ll laugh, smile and likely shed a tear or two.

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