Good Grief tells the tale of a group of friends after one of their number dies. The story is told through the prism of Adam, the widower, and Cat, one of the friends as they come to terms with Liv’s death and their own futures, writes Michael Holland…
Cat and Adam begin clearing up towards the end of Liv’s wake where, besides themselves, five more are asleep in the hall, and others have taken all the wine as they left. While finishing off some dregs Cat feels cold and Adam fetches a coat to wrap around her. ‘It’s her’s,’ she shudders, and the atmosphere freezes and fades to grey.
A caption tells us we have moved on a month. Friends help out with casserole deliveries and phone calls to make sure Adam is coping and the warmth has returned between Cat and Adam as she helps him sort out and declutter the flat he and Liv shared. They discuss what to do with Liv’s belongings, how much they are missing her, and how they both never really got to say goodbye.
As the months pass you can sense the direction this is going and you would be right. The ending, however, is not so predictable. It has a poignancy that nicely cloaks the idea that you can’t help who you fall in love with, but you can help who you hurt.
Good Grief is a hybrid of film and theatre. We still see the scene changes, like in fringe theatre; we see close-ups, head shots, establishing shots, two shots, the whole gamut of shots as if we were watching a film rather than looking at a stage, and it works much better than pointing a camera at a stage and hoping it feels like theatre. It never does.
Sian Clifford and Nikesh Patel in the roles of Cat and Adam have the same chemistry between each other throughout all their ups and downs, and ins and outs, which seemed odd, but maybe the director wanted them to keep that careful, non-committal distance. Nevertheless, the great script by Lorien Haynes ensures that Good Grief is a great watch.
From February 15 – April 15. Tickets: £15. Concession: £10 (under 25s, students, those on universal credit and key workers – public sector employees who provide a vital frontline service in areas of health, education, and community safety). Supporter Package: £150 (with signed script and programme)
Digital programmes will be available for £2.50 from Original Theatre from February 15th
A 20% donation on top of the ticket price will be matched by the producers and donated to the NHS and Macmillan Cancer Care,