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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." Full Review
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...integrity to the storytelling that is combined with a heightened theatricality...The play, though it is undeniably harrowing and hard to watch at times, is so full of empathy and feeling...Unmissable theatre—the play of the year." Full Review
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." Full Review
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." Full Review
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." Full Review
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." Full Review
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 realised 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." Full Review
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." Full Review
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." Full Review
for a previous production "The script finds humour in the most desperate situations. That said, the scenes where Emma goes cold turkey are a mix of the blackly comic and downright harrowing. 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 that Emma inhabits...This is Gough’s show and the raw energy of her performance lingers long in the memory." Full Review
See it if you are a fan of the National Theatre and enjoy a cutting edgy production that’s engaging and full of raw emotion. D Gough is unstoppable.
Don't see it if you find avant-garde theatre confusing. And if the topic of addiction and self destruction upsets you.
See it if Powerful, funny and relevant drama following a young woman through drug rehab with a "must see" performance by Denise Gough.
Don't see it if You are not interested in stories of people with problems who resist rehabilitation. Your answer to life's pressures is "Just get over it!".
See it if You want a truthful afternoon of wonderfully created and developed drama that gives voice to a character commonly deemed as disgraceful.
Don't see it if You are sensitive to blood/bright flashes of light or are uncomfortable with topics on drug reliance, broken families, and rehabilitation.
See it if you like high (and I mean high) powered theater, and a performance that will be talked about.
Don't see it if you hate high (and I mean high) powered theater, and a performance that will be talked about.