People, Places and Things at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 22 September–7 October 2017, from £10
When Headlong, HOME and The National Theatre come together you know to expect something special, and so it is with People, Places and Things, Duncan Macmillan’s examination of addiction. This is highly energetic, highly original theatre that brings a fresh perspective to much-discussed subject.
The play finds an unexpected connection between the process of making theatre and the process of recovering from addiction. It follows Emma, an actor who makes the mistake of embracing drugs to deal with the everyday strains of both her job and the wider world. She soon realises that drugs are not the answer – but then, Emma asks herself, what is? How are you supposed to negotiate life’s perilous paths without some kind of crutch?
Since it first debuted in 2016 People, Places and Things has won a good deal of critical acclaim, both for the direction of Jeremy Herrin and for Bunny Christie’s design work (she was the one behind the striking set of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time). This is high quality theatre at its best, the kind of production we simply didn’t have enough of in Manchester before HOME came along.