Wet House Review

Eva Quinn and Joe Caffrey in Wet House by Paddy Campbell at Live Theatre. Photo by Keith PattisonBy Hannah Morpeth (September’s Guest Blogger)

A play of life stories not sob stories, Wet House follows youngster Andy as he is dives head first into the care industry ultimately asking the question what it means to care for those who society so often lets down.

Having worked with people with substance misuse issues myself, I was slightly apprehensive about seeing Wet House, the fine line of capturing both the harsh reality of substance misuse and also somewhat educating the audience to feel empathy towards these people is a difficult feat. However, Campbell’s experience working in a wet house is particularly evident when it comes to the characters Dinger, Kerry and Spencer, residents of Crabtree House. It is a credit to Campbell that I found myself seeing people I have supported in all of the residents, his ability to embody all of the issues that comes along with substance misuse in just a few characters is absolutely amazing.

Although on paper Wet House sounds as if it would be quite serious it has moments of pure hilarity perfectly balanced alongside moments of sadness. Some memories were all too raw to laugh at yet, such as finding myself in a very similar situation to Andy as he encourages a doublely-incontinent, drunk Dinger to take a bath – but let’s be honest not many people have had to experience that!

I found myself instantly draw to Kerry, longing for her to sustain abstinence but in watching Kerry waver you learn that empowerment is ultimately something that must come from within. Someone can be given support but it is up to that person to make the first step. I can’t help but empathise with how easy it is for a life of alcoholism to become the only option. We live in an age where alcohol is everywhere you turn, even being sold in cafes nowadays, binge drinking is seen as acceptable and many of us rely on that large glass of wine after a particularly tough day at work, if this is the case for so many of us, why is it then so difficult for so many of us to empathise with those who are alcohol dependent? People in Kerry’s situation often come from very difficult walks of life, women experiencing domestic violence are fifteen times more likely to abuse alcohol and it is estimated that over half of women who abuse alcohol have been subject to some form of abuse in their lifetime. Does that not make them turning to alcohol to manage the troubles that come with that the same as the glass of wine you have when you’ve had a hard day? Eva Quinn is the star of the show for me, her performance is believable from beginning to end, taking the audience on an emotional ride from recovery to relapse. Quinn’s performance perfectly illustrates just how easy it is to slip back into the revolving door of alcohol abuse.

Wet House is a must see for those who work in the care industry as a reminder of why what you do matters and for those of you don’t see the most vulnerable people of society on the daily basis, be prepared for your eyes to be opened and heartstrings pulled.

Wet House is at Live Theatre until Saturday 11 October. On Sunday 5 October the matinee performance at 4pm will be followed by a free Homelessness & Addiction Discussion.

Support services for those struggling with substance misuse and those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless:

NECA
Changing Lives
Crisis

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