Closed 2h 20m
People, Places, & Things
Brooklyn
87

People, Places, & Things NYC Reviews and Tickets

87%
(116 Reviews)
Positive
96%
Mixed
3%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing, Intense, Ambitious

About the Show

Denise Gough reprises her Olivier Award-winning role in the U.S. premiere of this drama, a raw, heartbreaking, and truthful performance about life spinning recklessly out of control.

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Member Reviews (116)

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80
Edgy, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Great acting, Clever

See it if for the stunning performance by Gough (altho she cries too often). The staging also dazzles. Addiction 101 w/a little room for hope.

Don't see it if you dislike the subject, hate loud noises/bright lights (used infrequently), you question the 12-step reliance on spirituality/surrender. Read more

85
Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if Fantastic performance, timely theme, excellent writing, fantastic staging.

Don't see it if it's a very entertaining play unless you are severely repelled by the issue of addiction. Read more

Critic Reviews (29)

October 25th, 2017

“A thrilling, devastating and, yes, deeply unreliable look at recovery...The staging gives the illusion that something dynamic and new is happening...But I kept waiting for something bigger than fine stagecraft — and even Gough’s ingenious performance — to kick in...However valuable and accurate 'People, Places' is as a portrait of the addict’s nightmare, the play really wants to weigh in on a more fundamental issue about addiction and responsibility. And on this note it seems to waffle."
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October 25th, 2017

“Macmillan’s play is a searing exploration of a still-taboo subject, brilliantly elucidated through its parallels with his own chosen art form...Emma comes roaring into chaotic, devastating life in the person of Denise Gough...The rumors are true. She is that good...Macmillan and director Herrin expertly walk the line between morbid humor and excruciating honesty...But the brilliance of ‘People, Places & Things’ is that empathy — vital though it may be — is no cure-all.”
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October 25th, 2017

"It's the human core of Gough's fearless performance that keeps you glued...While the group scenes can be somewhat repetitive and overwritten, the playwright strikes a considered balance between respect for the methods of recovery and skepticism about their limitations...Herrin's directorial flourishes, impressive and bracingly physical as they often are, do tend to pad the text, making it seem stretched at two hours and 20 minutes."
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October 25th, 2017

“Although elements of Duncan Macmillan’s play feel all too familiar (toxic parents, inevitable capitulation), a vivid, no-holds-barred star turn and striking staging distinguish the London import...Gough, in her New York debut, gives an explosive, wildly emotional performance. She is matched by a visceral, pulsing production that worms its way the addict’s addled brain.”
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October 25th, 2017

“A superbly astute theater piece...Herrin's invigorating production is unlike anything we've ever seen in terms of sheer creativity...When it seems like Macmillan’s about to take a dramatically easy route, he doesn't hesitate to throw an 11th-hour wrench into the works...This play is written with a complex understanding of real life...Gough's full-on performance is almost hard to watch at times because of this starkly authentic physical and emotional nakedness.”
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October 26th, 2017

"Herrin and his team have all sorts of ways of signaling the depth Emma's distress...Macmillan's bluntly unsentimental handling of Emma's recovery is hair-raisingly evident...Throughout, Gough gives the kind of performance of which careers are made - hilariously awful when drunk, dazzlingly on the offensive when sober, and, finally, moving, as she learns to let down her guard, only to absorb psychological blows...The rest of the production is equally assured."
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November 8th, 2017

“The hype that surrounds an award-winning performance on one side of the Atlantic can often preclude its impact if and when it arrives on the other side. This is not the case, I'm happy to report, with the overwhelmingly powerful performance of Denise Gough who deservedly won the Olivier Award as Emma in ‘People, Places & Things,’ a new play by Duncan MacMillan, which premiered in London in 2015, and is now enjoying its American premiere at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn.”
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November 2nd, 2017

“A play that blows the top of your head off...Some of the most inventive direction I’ve seen in years, a committed company, and a sensational central performance by Denise Gough...’People, Places & Things’ offers a number of compelling insights into the desperate struggles of the addict...There’s the over-arching question: ‘What is recovery?’ Emma attempts an answer at the play’s end—and it’s worth it to take the journey with her, just to hear it.”
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October 29th, 2017

"Likely to be noticed primarily as Gough's New York debut...But Macmillan's Grand Guignol voyage through the demolished mind of an addict is far more than a vehicle for Gough's virtuosic performance...Macmillan's drama is a timely depiction of the physical, psychological, and social impact of addiction. It's hard to imagine the sundry crafts of theater being brought together more expertly to dramatize the peril and pain of life at the mercy of drugs."
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October 25th, 2017

“Denise Gough is getting it all perfectly right in the phenomenal ‘People, Places & Things.’ It’s a whirlwind performance...In no way is this production, directed by Jeremy Herrin, standard in the slightest. It flies high, above any expectations that could exist, and then excels beyond even that...Every word and moment has intense meaning in Emma’s life and great importance in the overall arc of this fascinating tale...Gough is transfixing, and to miss her in this would be a crime.”
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October 25th, 2017

“Gough’s is not the only extraordinary performance...All ten cast members do a spot-on job, and director Herrin puts them and the design team to great use, with some inventive moments of stagecraft that are downright thrilling...Some will see ‘People, Places’ with a running time of about two hours and a half hours, as overlong and repetitive. But I found it worth the wait for the penultimate scene...It was also one of the most moving scenes I’ve experienced this season.”
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October 29th, 2017

“Although leavened by dark humor and eye-popping visuals, this play-so pertinent during our present opioid crisis-can be heavy going…Gough…gives a physically and emotionally grueling performance that bravely avoids sentimentalizing the character; in fact, by the end of the long first act, you may find your patience for her unrelenting hissy fits…wearing thin…Sarah's drug-fueled episodes allow director Jeremy Herrin and movement specialist Polly Bennett to concoct dazzling theatrical moments.”
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November 3rd, 2017

“A sensorially thrilling show...As a production and a performance, ‘People, Places & Things’ is a fireworks display. Narratively, though, the play follows a traditional pattern, one you can predict...The piece shows real sympathy for those in recovery, and Gough is giving an old-fashioned, barnstorming, operatic performance. If it doesn’t bother you that there’s something false at the story’s core, then, hell, lean back and let the experience take you away.”
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November 3rd, 2017

“Actress Emma (Denise Gough giving nothing less than a brilliant performance) falls apart from excessive drinking and drugging during a performance of 'The Seagull’...The scene during which she confronts her parents is perhaps MacMillan’s most effective—after a series of extremely effective play-long sequences directed by Jeremy Herrin...Macmillan lets no one off the hook in a work that makes a case for the undeniable benefits of rehabilitation.”
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November 7th, 2017

“Herrin’s staging and the acting approach (by a strong ensemble) hews to a baseline of gritty naturalism. But the script is studded with brainy debates...Gough is so spontaneous and visceral, you nearly forget how hard she’s working — how many pivots and layers the role requires...A meticulously detailed portrait of a woman traumatized by a homogenized culture and parental neglect, who shovels mountains of drugs into the hole of her modern, excavated self."
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October 25th, 2017

“Denise Gough, the lead actor, isn’t just good. She’s great playing Emma, an actress-addict who just can’t stop imbibing every drug known to man…Emma is also wildly funny...Unfortunately, Macmillan saved nothing but platitudes for the therapist and all the other patients…Whenever the 12-step talk interrupts one of Emma’s fascinating tirades, director Jeremy Herrin invariably comes to the rescue.”
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T
November 5th, 2017

“The first 20 minutes display the most bracing collaboration of playwright, actors, director, and designers in recent memory...The remainder of this harrowing play’s two hours lives up to this devastating beginning...MacMillan leads us on Emma’s soul-churning journey to sobriety, realized with daring imagination by Herrin and his inspired team...The clear-eyed script is refreshingly cliche-free...Gough brilliantly portrays the whirling kaleidoscope of Emma’s psyche.”
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November 11th, 2017

"The brilliant way in which this tale about a woman's struggles with alcoholism and addiction is told deserves all the accolades that the production has been getting...A demanding role that requires the actress playing Emma to be simultaneously funny and poignant...Gough totally delivers...I'm saving my loudest hurrahs for the totally imaginative staging by Jeremy Herrin that includes dance-club music and choreographed segments."
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November 3rd, 2017

“‘People, Places & Things’ employs all sorts of clever visual tricks to disorient the viewer...Macmillan follows a fairly rote arc, of breakdown, recovery, relapse, and tentative recovery; you've seen countless variations on this story before…Gough is indeed extraordinary...But you also never quite escape the feeling that she and the show's creators are working overtime to mask the banality at the play's core."
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March 24th, 2016
For a previous production

"Acting so raw, so tangible, so felt, so passionate, so wounded yet alive, so down but never out, that it thrills and astonishes...Gough steals this fierce, uncompromising play with a heart-stopping intensity...Macmillan and Herrin bring a documentary-like fly-on-the-wall integrity to the storytelling...The play, though it is undeniably harrowing and hard to watch at times, is so full of empathy and feeling it works when you embrace it...Unmissable theatre—the play of the year."
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March 24th, 2016
For a previous production

"Gough is stunning in this powerful new play...For all the initial, broad black comedy and the flourishes lobbed in by director Jeremy Herrin, Gough gives a masterclass in nuance and subtlety. It is the best London stage performance since Mark Rylance’s in ‘Jerusalem’...It is a titanic performance in a slightly flawed play...Macmillan’s writing is notably thinner when it comes to the minor characters...What might have felt like a clever-clever script in other hands has been taken over by Gough."
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March 28th, 2016
For a previous production

"Gough acts zonked and evasive, withdrawal-jittery, insecure through the process and even more candidly so at its end, for Macmillan rightly questions the shortcomings of such a one-size-fits-all curative ideology. More cleverly still, he invokes parallels between the mindset of the addict and that of the actor...To say that the play doesn’t quite match the production is to say that it is merely very good indeed; Gough, however, is magnificent."
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March 24th, 2016
For a previous production

"Gough gives the greatest stage performance since Mark Rylance in 'Jerusalem'...Gruellingly honest...The arc of the character, and thus of Gough’s remarkable, truthful performance, is awe-inspiring and utterly convincing...A profoundly moving acceptance of flawed humanity. If all this sounds a little daunting, take heart: Macmillan’s lovely writing is never less than slyly humorous and Gough certainly knows how to deliver a funny line...It’s a supremely confident and well-oiled production."
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April 1st, 2016
For a previous production

"Gough gives a career-defining performance...It is the kind of performance that makes the play appear far better than it actually is. Herrin’s production is full of theatrical chicanery and effects...Beneath the loud bangs, the sputtering lights, the strobes, and Gough’s incendiary performance, there lies a surprisingly conventional play...While there are some moments of clarity and powerful writing, Macmillan’s determination to mine every cliché about actors beggars belief."
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March 24th, 2016
For a previous production

"Emma is an absolute firecracker of a role and Gough portrays her magnificently...It's a tortuous physical and emotional journey that Gough plays with astounding commitment...It's a sharply observed story that has a strong ring of truth to it...It features all the highs and lows of life while deftly highlighting just how limited treatment for addiction is today...It's a strong work on its own with writing that stands up and whacks you round the head."
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L
March 23rd, 2016
For a previous production

"Failed to keep me engaged throughout...It very quickly became drama about drama, something which barely lets up during the evening’s proceedings...Gough is clearly a very capable actor but her character goes from being aggressive and confrontational to droning on and on...It was more than a bit dull...As it stands, the depiction of Emma’s mental state...is well choreographed...But the whole thing is too long and too uneven to qualify as a triumph."
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March 24th, 2016
For a previous production

"Macmillan’s script is almost as prickly as its sardonic lead...The metaphors are sometimes overegged, but Gough’s raw delivery ensures Macmillan’s discourse has a visceral immediacy. She makes Emma’s articulate nihilism persuasive and simultaneously obnoxiously self-indulgent. Crucially, Gough fully earns our investment in her emotional journey, through trauma, grief and the day-by-day process of healing, by never openly courting it. Fearless, unflinching, and unforgettable."
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March 26th, 2016
For a previous production

"The depth of the piece, the empathy you feel, and the extraordinary cast simply represent theatre at its best...This play tampers with humanity at its most raw, finding what many think and feel but perhaps are not aware of...MacMillan’s text is excellently realized by Herrin with some deeply human, real performances...There’s an energy about Gough's performance that I have never felt before, with an almost sickening certainty that something spectacular is and has happened."
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March 24th, 2016
For a previous production

"Once in a while a piece of theatre comes along that's so riveting you almost forget to breathe while watching it. Such is the case with Duncan Macmillan’s uncompromising examination of addiction, featuring a mesmerizing performance by Denise Gough...Gough carries it off with aplomb and takes the audience on a roller coaster of comedy and heartbreaking tragedy...It’s all superbly marshalled by Herrin, who seamlessly blends the hallucinatory and real worlds."
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