Review: Centaur Theatre's GOOD PEOPLE is a Love Letter to South Boston
'Good People' has been described as a love letter written by the playwright to his hometown of South Boston or "Southie", and a love letter it most certainly is.
Featuring hard-working, tough-as-nails characters, the funny play is a well-crafted commentary on the socio-economic divide in America.
Directed by Roy Surette, the show comes to life on Centaur's main stage in Montreal only a year after premiering in New York City and subsequently being nominated for a Tony Award.
In an entirely heart-breaking first scene we are introduced to the central character Margie Walsh (Johanna Nutter), a single mother of a handicapped adult daughter, who is being fired from her job at the dollar store.
In an attempt to find a job Walsh seeks out an old boyfriend, Mike (Paul Hopkins) who has made it out of Southie and become a doctor. As the play progresses the disparity between the two economic classes becomes more and more apparent. It finally climaxes in a heated scene as Margie stands in Mike's fancy living room and accuses Mike of being the father of her daughter.
The short time Nutter spent in South Boston is apparent with her perfect Boston accent and her depiction of a hard-working mother of whom life has completely worn out. Her acting is spot-on in portraying a woman whose desperation has hit its peak.
However it was Catherine Lemieux, playing Jean, Margie's butch, wise-cracking best friend, who stole the show. Lemieux's character especially shone when interacting with Sandy Ferguson, who plays Dottie, the uptight, clueless landlady. Lemieux effectively makes Ferguson's character out to be the biggest pest of a person, all in all culminating into the play's most hilarious scenes.
The set design is extremely effective and innovative, consisting of a garbage dump that when opened up transforms into a cozy kitchen. The grungy outdoor alleyway of Southie transforms into a swanky doctor's office further giving the audience perspective on how desperate the economic situation is in working-class neighbourhoods.
Some of the actors' Boston accents were more convincing than others', however all in all 'Good People' is not only good, but a great show. Take a trip down to Southie for a night and see how 'good' it really is.
Good People plays at Centaur Theatre (453 St-François-Xavier) from Nov. 6 to Dec. 9
Tickets are $47.50 regular, $36.00 matinee, $26 student
For more information, click here.
Photo credit: Luce Tremblay-Gaudette