Bobby & Amy (4 stars)

This article is from 2019

Bobby & Amy

Bittersweet look at the foot-and-mouth epidemic's impact on rural Britain

'The day the cows started burning, my community was changed forever', says Emily Jenkins, former Fringe First Winner and writer/director of new two-hander Bobby & Amy. Informed by her early experiences, it looks at the impact of the early 2000s foot-and-mouth outbreak through the eyes of two young teens.

Bobby (Will Howard) and Amy (Kimberley Jarvis) are both outcasts in their sleepy Cotswold town; Bobby can't seem to work out social interactions, and Amy has turned inward after the death of her father. When they bond helping out the village farmer, life becomes a little easier as a pair. Soon foot-and-mouth disease rears its ugly head, the cows burn, and the community is torn apart.

With the colourful mix of village characters portrayed by Howard and Jarvis, the dexterity at which they switch from the likes of the local chippy owner to vapid school bullies is slick and charming. Although it's easy to foretell where the story is going, Jenkins writing makes the mundane reality of everyday village life into a poetic, nostalgic dreamscape.

The poignancy of the piece is in the quiet ways the epidemic impacted rural communities and the fact that such harrowing consequences have not yet made it into the widespread cultural consciousness. It's a bittersweet ode to the forgotten voices who were drowned out in the wake of a national catastrophe.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 26 Aug (not 12), 12.45, £10-£12 (£9-£11).

Bobby & Amy

An award-winning dark comedy about foot-and-mouth disease by double Fringe First Award winner, Emily Jenkins. It's the late nineties. Take That, Tamagotchis, Dip Dabs, and Pog Swaps. When 13-year-old Bobby and Amy meet, hundreds of cows dot across the fields and the sun always shines. But when the cows begin to burn…