Good People in bad circumstances

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America’s personal mythology, the land of the hard working realised dream, is a culturally accepted trumpeted phenomena. Oprah, Steve Jobs, David Geffen – if you work hard and dream big you can make it in America! You didn’t? Or you didn’t because you were born with a social or physical disadvantage? Well the suggested answer is you didn’t dream big or work hard enough.

This is the essence of Red Stitch’s new play Good People: what integrity does intention hold without manifestation? If you manage to rise above your class in your lifetime, is it just dumb luck? Are those who are left behind subconsciously manifesting their hardship like the nouveau-riche manifest their wealth?

Set in working class South Boston (or Southie, playwright David Lindsay-Abaire’s home town) Good People covers meandering emotional and ethical terrain. It is tightly nuanced and deeply human, tugging at pieces of you every step of the way. Margie (Andrea Swifte) has lost her job again, desperate she approaches anyone and everyone for work but all in Southie are doing it tough. Margie’s old high school boyfriend Mike (Dion Mills) resurfaces. Mike’s a successful and wealthy doctor, the one who got away. Can he be the one that helps Margie make the break she so desperately needs?

Moments of judgement tumble out of you unexpectedly, revealing pieces of yourself you are surprised to see. It’s an all consuming experience. The entire cast work the material beautifully. A minor quibble, some of the actors accents got a little lost throughout the performance. Kaarin Fairfax’s direction is engaged and draws compelling performances out of the entire cast,  particularly Andrea Swifte in the lead role of Margie.

It’s also worth mentioning Red Stitch’s dedication to actors – providing rich roles of depth for a full age range of performers. Especially women, the actor’s theatre seems to have a dedication to elevating women in the theatre in both diversity of roles and production positions. The first half of this season, three out of four plays are directed by women. In my eyes this alone makes Red Stitch good people.

Good People is showing at Red Stitch Actors Theatre till the 3rd of March.
For session times and tickets visit their website www.redstitch.net

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