People, Places and Things @ Trafalgar Theatre Review

Courtesy of Marc Brenner.

To achieve sobriety is a great thing, for anyone who has directly been affected by alcohol and drug addiction, whether that be you, yourself, or a family member or loved one, the impact of addiction is destructive and heavy. Unresolved traumas dealt with by attempting to source out a means of escapism and resolution. Reprising her award winning role Emma – Denise Gough shows once more why People, Places and Things still resonates a decade on – in a day where we talk about wellbeing and mental health more so.

A detailed, microscopic look at Emma’s sobriety journey, we go beyond the walls of an often enigmatic facet of society – Rehab, and experience what it is to deny help, rebel help, dismiss help, laugh at help and without even realising it, start to open up to the support that’s around. The bumpy road towards healing caught fantastically by both Gough and Duncan Macmillan‘s brutal script. There’s no escape, Sinéad Cusack’s matter of fact Therapist an intellectual, steady presence holding Emma to account – pushing her back on track when the journey becomes too challenging. From engaging with the other patients at AA meetings, Emma slowly softens, she goes from questioning why she’s even there, to understanding why and how her direct family are too impacted by her pain. Macmillan’s allusion to A Street Car Named Desire’s Stella Dubois summing Emma up well, a reference to the famous depending on the kindness of strangers line a sentiment that echoes throughout – it is the strangers that Emma meets who truly help her to even envision a positive future – something that even surprises herself. Jeremy Herrin directs a difficult, confronting 3 hours, one adorned across clinical backdrops and stark projected hallucinations – Emma’s visions hauntingly yet sensitively envisaged by carefully choreographed montages. I leave the show with a greater understanding of what rehabilitation looks like, and how tough it can be. The show bravely exploring trauma and the lengths that many will go to to somehow try and self medicate from such pain. A powerful watch!

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

People, Places and Things plays until Saturday 10th August 2024 at the Trafalgar Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop