"Inspiring drama for theatre addicts"
by Arthur Duncan for remotegoat on 01/11/17

A breath-taking script by Duncan MacMillan, brilliantly performed by energised, totally-focussed actors, directed with imaginative flare, enhanced by delightfully versatile scenery and gut-rumbling sounds, rewards its audiences with shocks, surprises, laughs and intensely moving confessions, every minute of its brief-seeming two-and-half hours.

“People, Places & Things” is a compelling dissection of one-woman’s reality in an unstable world gone wrong for her. But MacMillan has thoroughly examined the issue and reveals many opposing perspectives and fresh insights and corrections to conventionally held misconceptions about addiction, inadequately assessed remedies and unrecognised influences of people, places and even things that affect one’s life-choices or impose ‘no-choice’ conditions that must be coped with.

These talented performers and creative designers, choreographers and scenery builders, are melded under diligent producers and clever directors into an ensemble of stunning abilities, proving to discerning theatregoers that live-representation truly enriches the human condition. It is as essential to wholesome societies today as ever it was to the Ancient Greeks. Catharsis by proxy is therapeutic, yet presented by this exemplary company, it is also exquisitely enjoyable.

‘People, Places & Things’ is a triumph for everyone involved but shining above her co-performers, Lisa Dwyer Hogg deserves most appreciation. Like an angel at the top of her Christmas tree, she is the star of the show, despite that the cast comprises an all-inclusive egalitarian group. On stage every minute throughout the performance, Lisa Dwyer Hogg burns huge amounts of energy, meticulously portraying extremes of emotion, from vehement self-assertion to passionate inner conflict or submissive conciliation with various people in various situations. Step-by-step, her character bounces like a pin-ball between the obstacles to her progress toward a resolution – any resolution for her turbulent existence. Is returning to the stability of her parents’ home, the final destination for sanity? Macmillan sustains suspense to the end with disturbing turns of events, yet entirely realistic revelations from unexpected characters.

Other actors contribute unobtrusively to the excellence of this work; their names are all included in the very informative, souvenir programme and on the company’s web-site. So if you love drama, meet these People, in any performance Places you can & let no Thing stop you.

This week at the Northcott Theatre, University campus, Exeter until 24th November. Go,go,go!

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