Beyond Extraordinary: PEOPLE, PLACES & THINGS at Wyndham's

I originally wanted to catch People, Places & Things when it had its initial run at the National Theatre Dorfman but due to tickets selling out very quickly and time wasting away from me, I missed out. When the West End transfer was announced, I was delighted; there is something about this psychodrama that intrigued me so much more than anything else that had come before it. 

To my delight, my positive thoughts were correct, which is why this show it's probably my favourite show of the year: P,P&T might well be the best play I have ever seen and if that wasn't a big enough statement, it might even be the best theatrical experience I have ever had in general as well. The story of P,P&T follows Emma, a fringe actress who clearly has a problem with drink and drugs right from the start of the play. Emma then decides to admit herself to rehab and the rest of the play looks at her battle with her addiction and the problems that may have caused this; despite her recovery process being technically very backwards and forwards, it retained my attention each time as opposed to getting increasingly more boring.

The play also successfully depicted not only one person's struggle with addiction but a whole band of patients' issues with real pull and everything said and explained through the story feels real and raw as opposed to cringe and off-the-mark. Not only are the situations recited to us affecting, but the situation playing out right in front of our eyes is as well: watching the different highs and stresses that Emma experiences throughout the play coming to life is mesmerising. In one of her earliest highs, multiple different Emmas emerge in her room and start running around. It's not only very clever but also very impressive and it's well directed moments like this one by Jeremy Herrin that make the show (a constant blend of very serious drama and LOL-worthy comedy) so perfect.


It can't go without saying though that the most impressive part of this show is Denise Gough as Emma. Her performance certainly cannot be forgotten as one of the best - if not the best - this season, nay ever. Her transformation into this addicted woman is breathtaking and every move and breath she takes is so well calculated that you truly are convinced an actual addict is right there. I was lucky enough to have on stage seating so she performed a maximum of two metres away from my seat the whole time and every single moment she was on stage (there isn't a scene that she isn't in) was perfect. Performing that role must be equivalent to running several marathons every single performance and she deserves every award coming for her: fantastic. Barbara Marten and Alistar Cope also make notably wonderful performances and help to bring sanity and normality to this story that is very out of the ordinary for the majority of us.

I spoke more about the show in a YouTube video review the other day so please do refer to that for more articulate opinion on the show. It goes without saying though that this performance by Gough and this play by Duncan Macmillan is one of the finest pieces of theatre we are going to see this season. Gough has as much star power in this career-defining role as Staunton did in Gypsy and it's clear to see how hard she is working each and every night. The whole piece is a fantastic example of what good comedic drama really can be and it's moments like these ones that make me truly proud of British theatre.

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