As well as the fun stuff that the 1990s brought – “He dun a poo! He dun a poo!” one girl squeals about her Tamagotchi – Emily Jenkins’ gorgeous two hander takes a hard look at the decade’s dark side too, especially as rural areas tried to recover from the ravages of foot-and-mouth disease.
Young teens Bobby and Amy meet in a folly on Farmer Rodge’s farm. Bobby’s a bit odd – he likes to count things, he’s not great with social cues – while Amy’s a loner. But they become firm friends and battle together through school bullies, domestic abuse and devastating disease.
Jenkins stuffs the play full of beautiful turns of phrase, but also hilariously captures the tenor of being a teen at that time.
She directs the show almost like a ballet, with lithe and tireless physicality from the two superb performers Will Howard and Kimberley Jarvis. They play Bobby, Amy and an entire village of characters, like Howard’s horse-riding lady of the manor or Jarvis’ doltish bully Kenny, jolting from one to the next in an instant.
There’s one moment where the two of them have to enact a fight between three people: it’s expertly done.
Swiftly and skittishly, with so much heart and two unfaltering performances, Jenkins’s play is much more than just a 1990s nostalgia trip. It’s a moving story of resilience, of changing landscapes, national trauma and, above all, friendship.