People Places & Things: One Messy But Awesome Addicted Seagull.2 min read

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Denise Gough (center). Photo by Teddy Wolff.

People Places & Things: One Messy But Awesome Addicted Seagull.

 By Ross for frontmezzjunkies

“I am a seagull,” she cries, but no, that’s not quite right. Denise Gough, the Olivier award winning actress, on the other hand, is getting it all perfectly right in the phenomenal People, Places & Things. It’s a whirlwind performance that is currently taking complete control of center stage at St. Ann’s Warehouse in this National Theatre transfer. It is Gough’s character, the actress going by the name of Emma, that can’t quite get the lines out as written as she takes the stage as Nina in the first few minutes of Duncan MacMillan’s (1984) thrilling and jolting new play. Once the fourth wall comes crashing down, all the Ninas and Emmas come out to play with a brutal and aggressive force. During the wild ride that is Act One, this modern day story of addiction and denial rises itself far above the average 28-day story of rehab and redemption. In many ways, the story feels typical. The standard idea of a rehab story revolving around an addict coming to terms with the addiction that most definitely resides inside her. But in no way is this production, directed by Jeremy Herrin (RSC’s Wolf Hall) standard in the slightest. It flies high, above any expectations that could exist, and then excells beyond even that.

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Denise Gough. Photo by Teddy Wolff.

Even when we don’t consciously realize it, every word and moment has intense meaning in Emma’s life and great importance in the overall arc of this fascinating tale.  During that desperate last ditch phone call made in the rehab’s admitting room, we first think that conversation is just a comic scenario draped in dark humor and blunt intensity without much future weight. But we couldn’t be further from the truth. All things come back, like a nasty flashback determined to haunt the user over and over again. (for the full review, click here)


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Denise Gough (center). Photo by Teddy Wolff.

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