Good Grief at Original Theatre Online
Gifting audiences with engaging live performances since 2004, Original Theatre has quickly adapted to a digital space during the ongoing pandemic. This time they’ve collaborated with Platform Presents and Finite Films to showcase the “visiting” production of Good Grief by acclaimed writer, Lorien Hayes.
Directed by Natalie Abraham, this play merges both elements of the stage and screen to create a highly emotive piece that blends layers of romance, comedy and sorrow delivered through conviction and well-crafted performances. Sian Clifford (Fleabag) plays Cat and Nikesh Patel (Artemis Fowl) is Adam. When Liv – the latter’s partner and the former’s friend – dies from a long battle with cancer, the two grief-stricken companions steer each other through the murky waters of the aftermath of her passing.
Each changing scene marks the months that follow their bereavement. From Liv and Adam’s house filled with post-funeral pizza boxes, to a makeshift Ikea car park where storage containers for her things are bought and then, the sad day where her belongings are packed up for charity, viewers are brought into their most intimate moments. These static sets don’t include any other people or moving objects so the observer is entirely focused on the friendship and growing romance that sparks up between the two forlorn friends. The overwhelming anguish starts to feel oppressive as it ties them intrinsically together and unearths a forbidden connection between the pair. This is heightened by the music score from Isobel Waller-Bridge that tiptoes in and out, adding its own claustrophobic glaze to their developing relationship.
Clifford is superb. Her performance is breathtakingly raw and so strikingly believable it marginally overshadows her co-star Patel’s execution. The couple take the audience on an authentic journey through the five stages of grief peppered with some lighter moments of comedy, and finally leave viewers smirking at the former’s ironic Bella Freud “Perfect Day” jumper as the final scene of this play draws to a close.
This online production of Good Grief is a short, sharp look at the reality of those left after someone passes away. It is a bittersweet tale told with humour and truth and reminds the audience that if you don’t let sorrow go, “everyone’s gonna move on with their lives and you won’t be able to”.
Good Grief is at Original Theatre Online from 15th February until 15th April 2021. For further information or to book visit Original Theatre’s website here.