Denise Gough is the talk of the West End right now with her incredible portrayal of a woman struggling with addiction and battling her demons in rehab. The National Theatre production of People, Places and Things is currently enjoying a West End transfer at the Wyndham’s Theatre.
West End Wilma sat down for a natter of a cup of tea with Denise to talk about the show, the incredible reception it has received and how it feels to have won both Olivier and Evening Standard awards for her performance.
For those who may not be familiar with your work, can you give me a little run down of some of your career highlights so far?
My career had mostly been in the theatre which is exactly how I’ve wanted it- highlights include Six Characters in search of an Author at Chichester and in the west end and Desire under the Elms at the lyric. Also working with Ken loach on Jimmys Hall was great. Watching how he treated people with such care and respect was a lesson in how it’s possible to conduct yourself with grace at the top of your game.
You are currently starring in ‘People, Places and Things’ at the Wyndham’s Theatre. What is the show about and what attracted you to the part you are playing?
People, Places and Things is the most truthful depiction of addiction that I had ever read and the part of Emma is one of the most beautifully drawn and fleshed out characters I’ve come across. There was no doubt that I wanted to play it and am very grateful I have been allowed to. It’s a brilliantly human part and one that we need more of for women.
The show deals with the subject of addiction. What is the most important message the show is trying to tell audience members and what kind of feedback have you received so far?
The play is compassionate and truthful about all aspects of addiction including and most importantly the family afterward. The response has been very positive and also emotional – I think people feel represented by the play regardless of their connection to the subject matter. It seems to invoke feelings of compassion and love in the audience and I’m delighted with that.
You’ve won several awards for your performance in this show. How did it feel winning and most importantly, where have you put them?!
I won two awards. It’s great because it means more work for me but I don’t put too much into making them the be all and end all. To be honest I was glad when they were all out of the way- the notion that I am in competition with other artists is anathema to me. The work is the thing.
Both of the statues are at my sisters. My nephew brings them in to school for show and tell.
There are lots of exciting shows coming to London in 2016. What are you most looking forward to seeing?
I’m dying to see Les blancs and the Flick at the national. Also the good canary at the rose in Kingston. And my friend Noma in Harry Potter- what a great thing that will be! Glenda Jackson as Lear will be interesting and the Acedian pirates at 503 in the autumn is not to be missed.
If you could be the opposite sex for the day, what theatre role would you love to have a go at playing?
I want to play Lago in Othello but I would have no intention of changing sex for the day to do it.
Why should people come and see People, Places and Things?
People, Places and Things is a beautiful play about something more than entertainment (although it is that too). It’s the truth and we are giving it our all every show. If you are up for being part of a human experience come along.
Don’t miss People, Places and Things at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre until 18 June 2016. Get tickets here