By Aline Mahrud
WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHEN?: Saturday 12 November (matinee), runs to 24 December 2022
We’ve written a great deal about musical Cabaret which celebrates its 1-year birthday in the West End this week and Good is very much the perfect play accompaniment.
- Read on for reasons including how to catch this play live or on NTLive
The word ‘good’ is used so many times by author C.P. Taylor in the script it makes us wish we could whizz through the text and tell you exactly how many but this is very much a meditation on how someone considered ‘good’ could be persuaded to compromise themselves to be far from that.
You join us in Frankfurt between 1933 and 1942 where David Tennant’s (Don Juan In Soho, Wyndhams Theatre) professor character Halder is struggling to look after his ageing mother, exasperated by his depressed wife and mother of his children, besotted by a student and discusses all his troubles with his Jewish best friend Maurice (Elliot Levey who won a Best Supporting Actor Olivier for Cabaret).
Both Levey and the excellent Sharon Small play multiple roles and the set has the feel of a gas chamber used by the Nazis as we learn Halder’s pro-euthanasia novel based on his own experiences have won the attention of Hitler himself as Halder and his wife debate what he should do with such attention.
Director Dominic Cooke (The Normal Heart, National Theatre) gives himself very little in the way of cast or scenery to work with but there’s great use of both light and sound as Levey and Small switch characters many times but the horror of what is unfolding is always made unflinchingly clear despite the show’s simplicity.
We’re at the point in the year where we’re about to publish our shortlist for our Best Theatre Actor monsta (longlist here) and don’t be surprised if Tennant doesn’t muscle his way onto a very competitive shortlist because he’s riveting yet also terrifying here in a way that he only hinted at in ITV’s Des, his portrayal of serial killer Dennis Nilsen.
*spoiler* Tennant was last month unveiled as the new Doctor Who, reprising a role he left over a decade ago, and we can’t wait to see what he and returning showrunner Russell T Davies (It’s A Sin) have in store for us.
We live in difficult times and it feels more important than ever that shows about the oppression of minorities like Good and Cabaret should be seen on West End stages.
2 images from this production will linger long in our memories: the book burning and the final scene including sound as Halder arrives at Auschwitz.
- Main picture via Facebook courtesy ATG Tickets Good will be in cinemas via NTLive in April 2023 Details
- Have you seen David Tennant in any shows before and what did you think of this 1? Let us know what you thought in the comments below
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