Walls come tumbling down in psychiatric dramedy ‘Wakefield’


You seemingly received’t acknowledge the celebrities of “Wakefield” — however, belief me, you received’t have the ability to get a sure early ’80s pop track out of your head after watching this psychological dramedy, which arrives Monday (Oct. 18) on Showtime.

That track, or “earworm,” because it’s referred to by one of many present’s characters, is an ongoing theme all through the eight-episode collection, which was produced and shot in Australia, the place it aired earlier this year on ABC TV. And it’s solely considered one of many arresting aspects of “Wakefield,” which relates the tales of the workers and sufferers who populate the titular picturesque psychiatric hospital situated in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.

The present’s protagonist is Nik (Rudi Dharmalingam), a compassionate nurse who loves tap-dancing (one other theme) and has the power to attach with the Wakefield sufferers on a stage past anybody else there — together with chief workers physician Kareena Wells (Geraldine Hakewell), who’s additionally Nik’s ex-girlfriend. Nik stopped simply in need of incomes his medical diploma; he felt that that is what he was meant to do, and it’s apparent in the best way he cares for, and communicates with, his prices that he was proper. Those sufferers embrace a businessman (Dan Wyllie) who’s there after an overdose and is attempting to shut a giant business deal; a younger mom (Megan Smart) with post-partum despair who’s additionally caring for her new child daughter at Wakefield; a manic-depressive panorama gardener (Harriet Dyer) who can’t management her intercourse drive; and an obese hoarder (Bessie Holland) with mommy points who hides behind ever-present darkish sun shades.

Rudi Dharmalingam stars as Nik, a compassionate nurse working in a psychiatric hospital, in “Wakefield.”
Lisa Tomasetti/Jungle Entertainm

Their tales are informed via a melange of flashbacks and in linear chronology in their lives at Wakefield, as are the again tales of Nik and his co-workers; many scenes involving numerous characters are revisited, however unfold through completely different points-of-view, which retains issues fascinating — and viewers on their toes. You’ll want to concentrate.

Nik, after all, has his personal demons which, because the collection progresses, start to floor as we’re taken inside his personal cocoon vis-a-vis points together with his household, Kareena (who’s coping with her personal issues), his co-workers and the state of his psychological well being (he’s the “victim” of that earworm track talked about earlier). The Wakefield workers is an assemblage of likable and fewer likable characters, together with appearing chief nursing supervisor Linda (Mandy McElhinney), who fears that Nik will take her job; Pete (Sam Simmons), who’s extra attuned to his two Bichon Frise canines than he’s to the sufferers; and Collette (Felicity Ward), a New Age-y nurse who faucets her brow to launch optimistic power. McElhinney, Simmons and Ward, who every have lengthy appearing resumes in Australia, are entertaining and fascinating in their very own methods.

Mandy McElhinney (left) and Felicity Ward as Linda and Collette.
Lisa Tomasetti/Jungle Entertainm

The collection, created by Kristen Dunphy — who co-wrote it with Sam Meikle, Joan Sauers and Cathy Strickland — mixes drama, comedy and even fantasy sequences (with a number of musical numbers) for a compelling take a look at the lives of a cross-section of individuals every burdened with points each emotional and bodily — and all looking for a method to deal with life inside and out of doors the partitions of Wakefield.