Digital theatre review: Good Grief
Ivan Radford | On 08, Apr 2021
Digital theatre has taken leaps and bounds in the past year, growing from the recordings of stage productions that have existed for several years to the National Theatre’s filmed-part-backstage Romeo & Juliet. Good Grief is another production that uses its unique hybrid format to echo its own themes, as the makeshift, understated sets and intimate close-up interiors echo the state of its two main characters who are, as the title suggests, grappling with grief.
It’s a subject that feels particularly resonant right now, as their quietly sat-upon loss bubbles up through the surface of this slight but substantial play. Lorien Haynes’ script plays as a romantic comedy, but it’s a bittersweet one, as Cat (Sian Clifford) comes to terms with the death of her friend, Liv, from cancer, while also helping and comforting her partner, Adam (Nikesh Patel).
Beginning with them clearing up after Liv’s wake, the play charts several months in the two friends’ lives, and as we get to know them, we also get to know the loss that joins them together. It’s a complex dissection of the many stages of grief, and it veers from guilt to laughter with all the convincing messiness of reality. Sian Clifford, who has delighted consistently in Fleabag, is wonderfully abrupt with flashes of melancholy piercing her cool facade, while Nikesh Patel (Foaly in Artemis Fowl) is movingly vulnerable.
Together, they keep things sincere yet surprisingly light, and director Natalie Abrahami maintains that tender, absorbing tone for 50 minutes – even with sequences that show us the crew setting things up ready for filming. But that artifice is all too apt, as we see two people attempting to piece together their world in the aftermath of something unimaginable, a world assembled from fragments of conversations and newly unearthed letters.
Good Grief is available to rent online at originaltheatreonline.com until 15th April.