Good People is too good to miss

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Good People - Arts Club Theatre Company
March 24 – April 24, 2016
Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

Margie (Colleen Wheeler) sits on the sofa in her ex-boyfriend Mike’s fancy house. He left South Boston, became a doctor, got married and had a baby, and become what she calls “lace curtain” — someone who thinks they’re better than others based on their income and where they live. While his wife is in the kitchen, Mike askes Margie not to tell her that they used to go out. Margie not only tells her they used to go out and that Mike asked her not to, but she tells Mike that her daughter is actually his. The tension in that living room could be cut with a knife.

This hilarious script of clashing social classes is full of laugh-out-loud lines, many of which are delivered strikingly by Wheeler. When Mike (Scott Bellis) asks her how the red wine is, her matter of fact reply, “How the fuck should I know?” is unexpected in the best way possible. The people in Margie’s life are equally charming and this quick-witted comedy full of stellar characters had the audience whooping with laughter many times.

Aside from the comedy, David Lindsay-Abaire’s play has some important messages to share about the difficulty of escaping poverty and role luck has to play in life. Mike and Margie were a couple until he broke up with her to go to college. From there their lives went in very different directions with Margie raising a disabled daughter on her own while working minimum wage jobs and Mike becoming a doctor who never returned to his “Southie” roots.

When Margie gets fired from her job at the dollar store, she hears that Mike is working as a doctor in the city and her friend Jeanne convinces her to go to his office and see if he has any work for her. You can see Mike and Margie both struggling in desperation — Mike to get rid of Margie as gently as he can, and Margie offering to do anything he needs, even clean the toilets.   

Every scene in this play is riveting and the acting is phenomenal. There are so many unexpected, funny moments that the writing keeps you on the edge of your seat and the story pulls you into South Boston as you root for Margie to at least be able to pay her rent. One of the best plays I’ve seen in a long time, I can’t recommend this one enough.

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