Review: A Lot to Love in ‘Good People’

  • Good People at Centaur to Dec. 9

Good People has been described as a love letter written by the playwright to his hometown of South Boston or “Southie,” and a love letter it most certainly is.

Featuring hard-working, tough-as-nails characters, the funny play is a well-crafted commentary on the socio-economic divide in America.

Directed by Roy Surette, Good People comes to life on Centaur’s main stage only a year after premiering in New York City and being nominated for a Tony Award.

In a heart-breaking first scene we are introduced to the central character Margie Walsh (Johanna Nutter), a single mother of a handicapped adult daughter, who is being fired from her job at the dollar store.

In an attempt to find a job, Walsh seeks out an old boyfriend, Mike (Paul Hopkins) who has made it out of Southie and become a doctor. As the play progresses the disparity between the two economic classes becomes more and more apparent. It finally climaxes in a heated scene as Margie stands in Mike’s fancy living room and accuses Mike of being the father of her daughter.

The short time Nutter spent in South Boston is apparent with her perfect Boston accent and her depiction of a hard-working mother whose life has been completely worn out. Her acting is spot-on in portraying a woman whose desperation has hit its peak.

However, it was Catherine Lemieux, playing Margie’s wise-cracking best friend Jean, who stole the show. Lemieux’s character especially shone when interacting with Dottie (Sandy Ferguson), the uptight, clueless landlady. Lemieux effectively makes Ferguson’s character out to be a pest, culminating in the play’s most hilarious scenes.

The set design is extremely effective and innovative, consisting of a garbage dump that when opened up transforms into a cozy kitchen. The grungy outdoor alleyway of Southie transforms into a swanky doctor’s office further giving the audience perspective on how desperate the economic situation is in working-class neighbourhoods.

Some of the actor’s Boston accents were more convincing than others, but all in all Good People is a great show. Take a trip down to Southie for a night and see how Good it really is.

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