Theater Review: “Good People”, starring Imelda Staunton
Good People is a comedy play about fate and the lottery of life, written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole), which first premiered on Broadway last year to critical acclaim. With Imelda Staunton in the lead role, it has played at the Hampstead Theater in Camden, before quickly transferring to the Noel Coward Theater in the heart of London’s West End, in order to accompany overwhelming audience demand.
The play centers on a sharp-tongued single mother from South Boston, Margie (Staunton), who finds herself out of a job, and subsequently reconnecting with her former childhood flame, Mike (played by Lloyd Owen). It is worth mentioning that the play is far from a predictable straightforward comedy, it contains many surprise twists along the way, which left the audience gasping at the performance I saw. The supporting cast includes theater veterans Lorraine Ashbourne and Susan Brown, who are brilliant as Margie’s best friend, and landlady respectively. Staunton delivers a magnificent performance as Margie, her comic timing is impeccable, and she had the audience in the palm of her hands from the minute she stepped on to the stage. She was very rightly awarded with a standing ovation at the end of the performance. She truly excels at comedy, and I would love to see her tackle more comedic roles on screen in the future.
Angel Coulby also gives a great performance as Mike’s wife Kate, despite not featuring in the first half of the production, her presence on stage is electric, and the scene towards the end which features Mike, Kate and Margie is extremely powerful. The South Boston accent Staunton and the rest of the cast employ is very believable, and as she explained in the Cast Q&A session after the performance, she perfected the dialect by working with a vocal coach, and watching The Fighter. The Olivier Award-winning actress will next be seen on stage in the fall at the Chichester Festival Theater, in the long awaited revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Gypsy.
Good People runs until June 14 at the Noel Coward Theater. Tickets can be purchased here.