When you’re ticket stub reads “Stage” with no seating allocation you know you’re in for something a little more considered than ROW G seat 31, and we certainly were. Emma was having the time of her life, now she’s in rehab, and I feel like we’re in there with her.
The opening scene really did set the pace and standard for this fantastically engaging production. a sharp burst from “stage” to reality, a stark space and an aggressive conversation countered by a clam authority figure following the rules and trying patiently to help.
Emma’s first step is to admit that she has a problem. But the problem isn’t with Emma, it’s with everything else. The frustration felt watching a person using their intelligence to counter and undermine a process such as rehabilitation is really quite interesting. I found myself thinking simultaneously that she should be thrown out and good luck to her, but also that she doesn’t know any better and someone just needs to help her see that. I imagine this struggle takes place on a day to day basis in medical facilities, I question my own temperament, then realise this is a production, I’m completely engaged.
The cast, and indeed crew given the incredibly clever stage set, work harmoniously in group therapy sessions and one to one scenes as the story ebbs and flows through turmoil and triumph then back again. Lisa Dwyer Hogg is a triumph as Emma and her delivery as both an educated middle class woman and an addict in rehabilitation works in a way that is not too far either way, but perfectly balanced in the modern everyday world to the point where this could be someone I know.
When intoxication feels like the only way to survive the modern world, how can she ever sober up? I really enjoyed People, Places & Things, so to answer that question I suggest going and finding out.
People, Places & Things
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