BWW Reviews: Salt Lake Acting Company's GOOD PEOPLE Is Very, Very Good Theater
Pulitzer Prize-winning David Lindsay-Abaire's "Good People" is strengthened by Salt Lake Acting Company's expert staging of his fascinating play.
Equal parts quirky comedy and piercing drama -- and equal parts harsh and gentle -- "Good People" is smartly directed by Robin Wilks-Dunn to reveal the play's multiple levels. At the center of this production is the searing Nell Gwynn as Margaret Walsh, a performance with nuance, heart, and honesty.
Margie, as she is known, is a single mother living hand-to-mouth when she is fired from her job as a Dollar Store cashier. A desperate search for a new job leads to the office of her high school flame, Mike Dillon, who is now an affluent doctor.
Much of the play's emphasis is on the class distinctions between the working and affluent classes, which include these exchanges:
When they first meet, Margie exclaims, "You're rich!" But Mike demurs that he's merely "comfortable."
"Oh, comfortable," she replies. "You're comfortable. OK -- I guess that makes me un-comfortable."
And later: "I didn't go to UPenn," Margie tells Mike. "I didn't go to UAnywhere."
Is Mike a "good" person? By standards of our society? By moral standards? Why or why not?
And, can we decide to individually be "good people"?
The questions linger after the theater is empty -- a sign of a very good play.
Gwynn's Maggie has a tremendous sparring partner in a polished Robert Scott Smith, who authentically portrays Mike. Captivating performances are also seen in Dee Macaluso and Stephanie Howell who play Maggie's neighbors/bingo parlor friends.
Photo: Robert Scott Smith as Mike Dillon and Nell Gwynn as Margaret Walsh.