Review: Wet House, Soho Theatre

“Do you ever question your decision to pursue a career in the care industry?”

Now this, this is the state of the nation. A country in denial about its alcohol habits, a caring profession stretched to breaking point and beyond, a society ill-equipped to deal with the problems that arise from both – Paddy Campbell’s Wet House forces a brutally uncompromising look at what we too often turn our heads away from. And though it is a first play based on his own experiences working in a wet house – a residential facility for the chronically alcoholic and homeless where they can drink however much they want – its dramatic construction, mordant humour and stunning character work clearly mark Campbell as one to watch as Max Roberts’ production so skilfully shows.

He plunges wet-behind-the-ears new graduate Andy into the murky waters of Crabtree House, such a hostel somewhere in the North East, with just the soggy good intentions of Helen and the eviscerating bone-dry wit of Mike to help keep him afloat. As Andy tries to become accustomed to the working practices of caring for people who, on the face of it, can’t or won’t be helped, the appalling truth of how much this work demands bobs into view and the coping mechanisms necessary, shocking as they may seem, perhaps that little bit more justified. It’s a testament to the veracity of the writing that this equivocation feels utterly, completely earned. Continue reading “Review: Wet House, Soho Theatre”