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Good People

Published 6 March 2014

What’s it all about?

What makes you a good person? Helping others as part of your profession? Telling the truth? Lying for the sake of another? Sacrificing your own future for someone else’s?

This is the debate at the heart of David Lindsay-Abaire’s South Boston-set drama, which sees Margie, a woman with a handicapped grown-up child, struggling to make a living. The arrival of an old flame, now a successful fertility doctor, provides a hint of hope, but when the invite to his party is withdrawn due to his own daughter’s illness, Margie is convinced it’s a ruse and turns up at the house anyway.

Who’s in it?

Olivier Award-winning actress Imelda Staunton takes on what must be one of the most compelling parts written for an older woman in recent years. She gives Margie asparkling wit and gritty demeanour in a compelling performance as the desperate and desolate lead character.

She is well-supported by the rest of the cast, which includes Lloyd Owen as a doctor trying to hide his past and Angel Coulby as his flippant but likeable wife.

June Watson and Lorraine Ashbourne add more humour to proceedings as Margie’s Bingo-going buddies, while Matthew Barker’s Stevie proves that firing a woman whose life depends entirely on her job doesn’t make him a bad person, not by a long shot.

What should I look out for?

A hilarious exchange between the well-to-do doctor and his childhood ex-girlfriend, which goes like this:

Mike: How’s the wine?

Margie: How the f**k should I know?

Also not to be missed is the demise of a rabbit that rivals that chilling scene in Fatal Attraction.

Who was in the press night crowd?

Anneka Rice, Vanessa Feltz, Victoria Shalet and the Hampstead Theatre’s Artistic Director Edward Hall, who either magically morphed into a woman for the second half or swapped seats.

In a nutshell?

Imelda Staunton’s witty and moving performance paints a compelling portrait of class, fate and economic hardship in South Boston.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@KathyLette Imelda Staunton + co jaw-droppingly good in Hampstead Theatre’s ‘Good People’ – a play about chronic debt-lag caused by the financial crisis.

@TheodoreBass Well #goodpeople at @Hamps_Theatre is fantastic. Incredible performances from everyone, some great roles for older women too.

Will I like it?

It’s hard not to. Lindsay-Abaire’s script alone constitutes an incredible piece of theatre, but combine it with the flawless cast and Hildegard Bechtler’s revolving set and you’ve got two hours of drama that you’d quite happily sit through all over again tomorrow.


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