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Theatre Review - Good Grief

Good Grief

Writer Frances Bowick

Director Latifa Amal-Schwarz

Chippen Street Theatre until October 11

Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP

Sydney Theatre Reviews

Theatre is slowly making a comeback to the Sydney scene, and I was delighted to see a co-op theatre group in a new performance space.

The Chippen Street Theatre in Chippendale is a large area with a black floor and black curtains around the walls, so it’s a blank canvas that can be used in a variety of ways.

Good Grief is an intriguing new ensemble work that involves an indigenous Australian and his Caucasian microcosm with all of its complexities. Paul and Kate are to be married, and Paul wants his half-brother, Josh, recently released from prison, to be his best man.

Josh’s petty criminal past resurfaces and further complications enter the dynamic.

There are several interesting aspects to this production which addresses racism, other biases and preconceptions, infidelity, loyalty, relationship rebounds and, of course grief and the good that accompanies it, because everything occurs in a perfect state of balance.

Outstanding performances are turned in by Ally O’Brien and Jamie Treselyan, and James Saunders’ stage presence and commitment make him one to watch. Those three are well supported by Michela Carattini and Nathan Moss.

To find the actors to play the petty criminals, they obviously called Central Casting who came up with Adeeb Razzouk and Antoine Razzouk.

To her credit, Director Latifa Amal-Schwarz cast Asian actor Edric Hong in three non-racially-specific roles.

The cast of thirteen and the production staff have a co-op business model, which means that production costs are shared, as are the profits. If more people are involved, individual financial risk is spread. Less experienced actors have an opportunity to practice and more seasoned performers remain active and are able to showcase their skills.

The Director’s interpretation of Frances Bowick’s script makes for an engaging theatrical experience, and the use of flashbacks enhances the storyline.

It’s good to support performers who back themselves, especially in this current environment, but Good Grief stands as a production worth seeing in its own right. It’s on until October 11.

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