by Meredith Jones Russell
A two-person comedy about kids and foot and mouth disease doesn’t necessarily sound like the most appealing prospect. Don’t let that put you off. Bobby and Amy is a stunning portrayal of the strength of humans, community and friendship, with incredible performances from its talented leads.
It’s the late 1990s and Tamagotchis, Space Raiders and Boyzone reign supreme. Bobby and Amy, 13-year-olds from a small town in the South West, are mostly bothered about navigating their slightly dysfunctional home lives and avoiding town bullies ‘The Goats’. By chance, they strike up a relationship with a local farmer and become heavily invested in his herd of cows. When foot and mouth strikes, their local community and whole way of life is suddenly under threat.
Will Howard and Kimberley Jarvis, playing Bobby and Amy and every other member of the town too, seamlessly flit from role to role. Their accents, delivery and physicality change entirely and instantly, never missing a beat. They play childlike innocence with just the right balance of truth and humour; not once does it feel that Bobby and Amy are children being played by adults. Both are superlative, but Howard in particular shines as he morphs from shy Bobby to a loutish fish and chip seller to a bitchy mean girl to a horsey aristocrat and back again.
With no set or props, the actors bring a whole town to life. You can genuinely smell the farm, taste the chip shop vinegar and see the birthing heifer on stage when Jarvis grabs it and hauls its calf out.
The script is by turns beautiful when describing the countryside Bobby and Amy call home, funny in its 90s references and sharp take-downs of teen, and adult. It’s then incredibly moving as the power of friendship and love, both between Bobby and Amy and among the whole community, unites across divides to defend livelihoods and home.
Bobby and Amy is small, it’s sweet and it’s provincial, but it’s huge in its heart, powerful in its message and incredible in its skill. Highly recommended.
Bobby and Amy runs through 25 August.
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