I have recently finished working on David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People directed by John Ghent as deputy stage manager and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed working on a new and modern play.
First performed at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2011, starring Frances McDormand and Tate Donovan, Good People is set in South Boston and tells the story of Margaret Walsh who has been fired from her job as a cashier at a Dollar Store. Margie is looking for work to support her disabled adult daughter, Joyce, seems simple enough right? Wrong! Margie is persuaded to visit her ex boyfriend Mikey Dillon for a job and from there things get a little bit complicated.
Margie has 2 friends, Dottie and Jean. Dottie makes rabbits out of Styrofoam balls and flower pots for five bucks each, whilst Jean is a bingo queen but is also the one who persuades Margie to seek Mikey Dillon and bring her daughter Joyce into the conversation.
All the actors brought so much life to their characters. Siobhan Moore faced a huge challenge portraying Margie as a fighter but also someone who we feel sympathy for, someone who has struggled all her life and is fighting the obstacles around her. I like Margie as she tries to make an effort when visiting Mikey and his young wife Katie in their big house dressed in her mismatched brown dress and black hoodie.
The bingo scenes were played out brilliantly, with perfect timing and precision. Margie’s old boss Stevie is teased about being gay as well as about his mother, which the other characters think is funny but brings back unhappy memories for Stevie. These scenes were my favourite; especially Jean teasing Stevie and Dottie trying to make a few bucks flogging her rabbits (brilliantly made by properties).
The scene in which Margie visits Mikey Dillon has so many different levels, the tension slowly rises with Katie being the hostess bringing out cheese (again great work by properties) whereas Mikey wants Margie to keep their past a secret. I loved the tension between Mikey and Katie as Katie throws sarcastic comments at Mikey because he does not seem to have behaved himself whilst being a married man.
From being backstage I enjoyed hearing the audience’s reactions. Margie’s reveal of her past relationship with Mikey to his wife Katie was great, as the audience laughed at Margie’s casual reveal while Mikey feels himself slowly digging himself deeper into a hole.
As for the set, Kevin Jenkins and the crew did a great job of designing and building a versatile set which starts as a dumpster, turns into a kitchen, then turns into a set of cupboards and bookshelves.
Even though the story is a serious one there are so many comical moments and the ending gives a sense of hope; especially with the song ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ used which made me feel that Margie is a fighter who will land on her feet, even if she has to struggle to get there.
I have to say a big well done to all the cast of Good People, as well as the crew. This will definitely be a memorable show for me and I couldn’t help but take a rabbit at the end. Director John Gent brought together a fantastic group of actors who fit their characters perfectly.
When asked ‘who are the Good People?’ the cast and crew had different opinions. This for me is one of the main aspects I like about the play, I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer, but it is interesting to hear people’s thoughts. All I know for sure is that Lindsay-Abaire has written a comical, thought provoking drama and I do hope we will be seeing more of him in the future.
Our final main stage play of this season, ‘Out of Order’ plays this week through til Saturday.