Walls come tumbling down in psychiatric dramedy ‘Wakefield’

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

That tune, or “earworm,” because it’s referred to by one of many present’s characters, is an ongoing theme all through the eight-episode sequence, which was produced and shot in Australia, the place it aired earlier this yr on ABC TV. And it’s solely one in all many arresting sides of “Wakefield,” which relates the tales of the employees and sufferers who populate the titular picturesque psychiatric hospital positioned within 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 employees physician Kareena Wells (Geraldine Hakewell), who’s additionally Nik’s ex-girlfriend. Nik stopped simply wanting 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 embody a businessman (Dan Wyllie) who’s there after an overdose and is making an attempt to shut a giant enterprise deal; a younger mom (Megan Smart) with post-partum melancholy 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 chubby hoarder (Bessie Holland) with mommy points who hides behind ever-present darkish sun shades.

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

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

Nik, in fact, has his personal demons which, because the sequence progresses, start to floor as we’re taken inside his private 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 tune talked about earlier). The Wakefield employees is an assemblage of likable and fewer likable characters, together with performing 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 canine than he’s to the sufferers; and Collette (Felicity Ward), a New Age-y nurse who faucets her brow to launch constructive vitality. McElhinney, Simmons and Ward, who every have lengthy performing resumes in Australia, are entertaining and attention-grabbing in their very own methods.

Photo showing Mandy MacElhinney and Felicity Ward as Linda and Collette in a scene from "Wakefield."
Mandy McElhinney (left) and Felicity Ward as Linda and Collette.
Lisa Tomasetti/Jungle Entertainm

The sequence, 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 trying to find a manner to deal with life inside and outdoors the partitions of Wakefield.