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REVIEW: Good (NT Live) [Theatre, Play, David Tennant, London, West End]

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Harold Pinter Theatre, London (NT Live)

20 April 2023

⭐⭐⭐

Good the play, David Tennant, Harold Pinter Theatre, NT Live

Good is an undeniably important play. A story that needs to be told and never forgotten.


The subject is dark and shocking. The stage is stark and intimate. It feels like we are in the room with these characters yet unable to do anything but watch the tragedy unfold.


David Tennant plays John Halder, a literary professor and a 'good' man who becomes embroiled with, and eventually a core part of, the Nazi party. This play demonstrates just how easily that can happen. And how easily someone can convince themselves that they are doing no wrong.

Good the play, David Tennant, Harold Pinter Theatre, NT Live. Credit: Johan Persson

At what point does Halder cross the line? Everyone will have different opinions. It's a frightening debate still unfortunately relevant today.


Tennant is terrific! It's a treat to watch him perform on stage. Halder is not a likeable character; he's selfish as well as delusional. He's happy to burn books as long as he can keep his own copies, for example.


The women around Halder - his mother, wife and lover - are all exquisitely played by Sharon Small. The wife and lover are thinly written and don't seem to have any motivation other than for Halder's affections. His mother is more developed; she's blind and living with dementia. Halder's experience caring for her leads him to write a book on euthanasia that first brings him to the Nazi's attentions.

David Tennant and Sharon Small in Good (Credit: Johan Persson) Harold Pinter Theatre, NT Live

Halder's Jewish best friend Maurice (Elliot Levey) tries to reason with him, explains how frightened he is with the rising antisemitism and even begs for train tickets for his family to escape Germany.


Levey's performance is remarkable. The emotion he brings is heart-breaking, and a stark contrast to Halder's untroubled persona.

David Tennant and Elliot Levy in Good (Credit: Johan Persson) Harold Pinter Theatre, NT Live

CP Taylor's script is magnificently performed here by an exceptional cast. I'm not a fan of the choice to have the leads (other than Tennant) play multiple roles. Although it gave us more stage time with the brilliant Small and Levey, I found the sudden switches jarring and confusing, particularly in the first act.


Good is not an easy watch, in more ways than one. Yet I find I can't stop thinking about it.

Isn't that what 'Good' Theatre is supposed to do? There is so much to debate here!


📸Production photos: Johan Persson

 

[Review first posted on Instagram 17 April 2023]


🌟 Good the play, David Tennant, Harold Pinter Theatre, NT Live 🌟


📧 For media and review requests contact Lisa_InTheTheatre@outlook.com

📸 To see more pictures and watch my videos follow @Lisa_InTheTheatre on Instagram


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