“Good People” is great theatre with a great cast

1029
SPOT Jersey Pride SD 29

Show review.

The latest production at George Street Playhouse “Good People” is so, so good. Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire has written a great play about luck, choices and a lack of both for some very good people in America’s “classless” society today.

Marianne Owen, Ellen McLaughlin and Cynthia Tewes discuss important issues in Margie's apartment in "Good People." All phoyos by Gerry Goodstein.

Marianne Owen as Jean, Ellen McLaughlin as Margaret and Cynthia Lauren Tewes as Dottie discuss important issues in Margie’s apartment in “Good People.” All photos by Gerry Goodstein.

“Good People” is set in South Boston very near where GSP’s Artistic Director David Saint grew up. It is clear he has brought a lot of his past with him as the Director of this production. Throughout the production it feels authentic and real. Saint is blessed to have an incredibly gifted cast too – especially Ellen McLaughlin.

McLaughlin, does a superb job as Margaret, an honest, hard-working Irish “Southie” in Boston that has been just barely getting by for many years raising her daughter with severe learning disabilities on her own. McLaughlin is so spot-on that you may miss several of the words due to the heavy Boston “Southie” accent. McLaughlin’s portrayal of the main character is a triumph of genuineness that will leave lasting impressions all evening.

Ellen McLaughlin as Margaret stares down her long ago ex, Mikey, played by John Bolger in "Good People." All photos by Gerry Goodstein.

Ellen McLaughlin as Margaret stares down her long ago ex, Mikey, played by John Bolger in “Good People.” All photos by Gerry Goodstein.

Cynthia Lauren Tewes plays the character of Dottie. Dottie is Margie’s landlady and babysits. She has all the best and funniest lines in “Good People.” She has great comedic timing and is hilarious with every four letter word and much, much more. The audience falls in love with this character at Bingo night and laughed and enjoyed her single-minded ideas throughout.

Jean is played by Marianne Owen. Throughout the play Jean discusses the many realities of living in poverty. In Margie’s apartment and at Bingo she is a constant voice that questions what is wrong with Margie. Why does Margie do what she does? She is a friend and advocate but cannot get over Margie’s idea of always doing the right thing. So she becomes Margie’s devils advocate for doing whatever it takes to get by.

Eric Riedmann plays Stevie. Stevie is Margie’s much younger “boss” at the Dollar store. In the opening scene, he is just getting by like the rest of the “Southies,” and within minutes the audience gets a glimpse of just how important “knowing people” is and how few choices there are in South Boston for neighborhood folk.

John Bolger does a fine job as Mike. He was Margie’s teenage chum and boyfriend from the neighborhood years ago. But now she finds out he became a successful doctor. He may have grown up in the neighborhood, but he has re-written some key moments of his childhood – especially his teen years. After he was accepted to college he just moved on. He never returned to see the neighborhood, his chums – or Margie. To Margie and her friends Mike becomes subject matter for the big question of – what if…? However, when she desperately needs a job and she plans to meet him the play gets into the serious theme of luck, class and what is “Good People.”

Ellen McLaughlin as Margaret, Zakiya Young as Kate and John Bolger as Mike confront Mike's past and present in Good People playing at Geaorge Street Playhouse. Photo by Gerry Goodstein.

Ellen McLaughlin as Margaret, Zakiya Young as Kate and John Bolger as Mike confront Mike’s past and present in Good People playing at George Street Playhouse. Photo by Gerry Goodstein.

Zakiya Young plays an essential and difficult part in the play as Mike’s pretty – and smart – wife Kate. She uses just the right amount of spoiled rich girl animus, versus honesty, versus reality in playing her part. Many awkward moments ensue throughout the play for many very different and surprising reasons between Kate, Mike and Margie and these scenes especially will make you think about your own choices and your own luck.

The support staff in this production does an excellent job of setting the time and place with brilliant work by Scenic Designer James Youmans and great outfits by David Murin. But the lighting and set design is of special note – particularly the set design. The many different room settings and stage movements – which happen seamlessly – is so well done that I wondered throughout the evening how the staff had pulled it off backstage.

This production is being presented in association with the Seattle Repertory Theatre where the entire production will be moving to after the GSP run concludes. “Good People” runs through February 24 at George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, NJ. Tickets are available at 732-246-7717 or online at www.GSPonline.org.

Show review.

The latest production at George Street Playhouse “Good People” is so, so good. Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire has written a great play about luck, choices and a lack of both for some very good people in America’s “classless” society today.