People, Places & Things, Theatre Review. Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: Lisa Dwyer Hogg, Michael Balogun, Trevor Fox, Susan Lawson-Reynolds, Ekow Quartry, Andrew Sheridan, Imogen Slaughter, George Somner, Aimee Lou Wood, Matilda Ziegler, Ellen Warwick, Natalie Ann Boyd, Emily Jane McNeill.

To beat addiction you need to stay away from the triggers that send you off the rails, to recognise those People, Places & Things which can harm you and your self belief and then start by being honest, more than you have been before in your life. Addiction is such that you don’t recognise it for what it is and to watch someone go through it, in which ever form it takes, is to understand the depths that a human being can sink to when nobody listens to them silently scream.

To capture and harness the dynamically frustrating enigma of addiction takes special skill, it is not one that can be produced simply by observing, by being told how to feel, it must appear lived; in all its excruciating fear and severely devastating knock on effects with those around you, it must be seen to be visibly painful. If you cannot show that sense of shame, of anguish and agony between those who go through the dependency and those trying anyway they can to help remove the torture, then you are cheating the audience.

In Lisa Dwyer Hogg’s performance that torture was real, it was full of sorrow and pathos and one in which cannot be easily replicated by many whose feet grace the stage. However it was also honestly funny, the one liners and scathing comments were enough to puncture the air and catch the audience unawares. To suffer for one’s art is the staple truth of the medium and as Ms. Dwyer Hogg takes her character through the lies and denial of her plight, what opens up for the audience is the insight of how a person can become so dependent on substituting addiction towards sex, medication or alcohol when love has been withheld.

With Matilda Ziegler as the Doctor and Therapist and Andrew Sheridan as one of the other broken souls in the facility, giving the advice on how to be clean from different perspectives and with genuine care from both actors, People, Places & Things is to be seen as production in which the reality and so called chic mentality of addiction collide; where rules are stringent because they have to be but an institution, unlike the outside world, where lies don’t work.

A tantalising glimpse into a world many don’t realise that goes under their own nose, in some form or another we all are all addicts to something, it is in recognising that fact in which recovery starts.

Ian D. Hall