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A reviews round-up for People, Places & Things at the Wyndham’s Theatre.

The West End transfer of Duncan Macmillan’s acclaimed new play has opened to standing ovations at the Wyndham’s Theatre.

An intoxicating new play about drug addiction and rehabilitation, it is definitely living up to expectations of the must see show of Spring 2016.  Denise Gough deftly reprises her Olivier nominated role from last years National Theatre production to stunning effect, with her performance widely compared to Mark Rylance critically acclaimed and award winning performance in Jerusalem.

Written by Duncan Macmillan and directed by Jeremy Herrin, People, Places & Things features  design by Bunny Christie, sound by Tom Gibbons, lighting by James Farncombe and costume by Christina Cunningham.

People, Places and Things runs from the 15 March 2016 until 18 June 2016 at the Wyndham’s Theatre.

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REVIEWS ROUND-UP

STAR RATING Evening Standard

“Duncan Macmillan’s gruellingly honest look at the rehab process sees Denise Gough give the greatest stage performance since Mark Rylance in Jerusalem”

“It’s a supremely confident and well-oiled production from director Jeremy Herrin, with a fluid acting ensemble. There is absolutely no doubt that Gough is the person, Wyndham’s the place and this play the thing to see this spring.”

Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

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STAR RATING Time Out

“For all the initial, broad black comedy and the flourishes lobbed in by director Jeremy Herrin – multiple Emmas erupting out of the walls, floor and furniture as the cold turkey bites – Gough gives a masterclass in nuance and subtlety. It is the best London stage performance since Mark Rylance’s in ‘Jerusalem’, but it’s also the polar opposite of his larger-than-life turn.”

“The only other cast member who can hold a candle to Gough is Marten, partly because she’s the only other one with a decent role. Macmillan’s writing is notably thinner when it comes to the minor characters in Emma’s therapy group. And it has to be said that some of Herrin’s fancier directorial interventions work better in the NT’s high-tech Dorfman Theatre than at a West End playhouse.”

Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

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STAR RATING The Daily Telegraph

“One of the most intriguing aspects of the whole production is that it is at its best when Emma is at her worst. When she is in full raging, raving, foul-mouthed Withnail-mode, it becomes something that you can’t tear your eyes from, and you feel – literally thanks to the shudders and booms that bookend many of the scenes of excess and withdrawal – a terrific rush. When she is subdued and introspective – dare I say, a bit dull – so too is the whole thing.”

“Jeremy Herrin’s skilful direction ensures the pace, with the exception of those therapy scenes, is unnervingly, satisfyingly fast – until the deliberately sedate final scenes. Bunny Christie’s clinical set and Tom Gibbons’s often terrifying sound design add to the woozy sense of disorientation and alienation. The cast are uniformly excellent.”

Chris Bennion, The Telegraph

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STAR RATING The Independent

“Generous-spirited, with a strong streak of irreverent, darkly humane humour, the play – superbly directed by Jeremy Herrin – has a thoughtful, shifting ambivalence that suits a problem where the solutions can only ever be provisional and the amends inadequate.”

“Gough brilliantly captures both the jittery hell of cold turkey and the abrasive, Irish scorn with which Emma repudiates the 12-step spiritual side of the programme.”
“There’s a devastating penultimate scene with her parents that shows how the cosily supportive role-play version of this that she’d acted out with her rehab brethren had perhaps not fully prepared her for the stark stringencies of their love.”

Paul Taylor, The Independent

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STAR RATING The Stage

“Yes, it really is that good. From its woozy opening moments onwards, the production grabs you by the wrist and doesn’t let go – it barely lets you draw breath.”

Natasha Tripney, The Stage

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STAR RATING The Guardian

“Duncan Macmillan is not the first dramatist to tackle addiction. What gives his new play exceptional vibrancy, though, is its decision to draw parallels between rehab and theatrical process, and to present the action from the addict’s point of view. It helps that his protagonist is an actor, superlatively played by Denise Gough.”

“It is Gough, however, who holds the play together. She breathtakingly captures Emma’s mix of dependency, delusion and scepticism: she never judges the character but plays her from her own point of view as a woman whose vulnerability is matched by a lone-wolf obduracy. It is an astonishing performance much aided by Jeremy Herrin’s vivid Headlong production, in which the stage at one point teems with multiple Emmas, by Bunny Christie’s white-tiled design; and by sterling support from Barbara Marten as a group therapist and Emma’s mum, and from Nathaniel Martello-White as a deeply sympathetic fellow patient.”

Michael Billington, The Guardan

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