You can’t have missed the hype on this one unless you’ve been living under a rock, right?? Well actually, it hadn’t really registered on my radar until my friend J went a few weeks ago and raved about it, so I dragged our other friend R along to it. On the night we went, Denise Gough had just recently won the Olivier award for best actress and the theatre was packed. Without any doubt, she more than delivered. The raw, edgy quality she brought to the role was what made the whole play. I was on tenterhooks watching to see if she would manage to battle her demons and beat her addictions. I work with people with addictions often and she portrayed the awful conflicting emotions so well that I really found myself rooting for her, a level of engagement which theatre rarely brings out in me. The supporting cast were also excellent, in particular Barbara Marten playing her mum/therapist (meaning that the same actress played both of these two roles, not meaning that her mum WAS her therapist…)
There are certainly difficult, messy, emotional bits and you probably need to be careful if you’re squeamish (apparently people have been known to faint…) but it’s one of the most thought-provoking pieces of theatre I’ve seen for a long time and will stay with you long after you’ve left the theatre. You may well find that your preconceptions about addiction, addicts and mental illness are challenged (mine were).
Overall: Believe the hype. Go NOW.