Why Good Grief is the lockdown distraction we all need

Marie Claire Chappet
·3-min read
Photo credit: Courtesy.
Photo credit: Courtesy.

From Harper's BAZAAR

The play was rehearsed on Zoom, filmed in a studio before masked crew and, instead of an opening night and a run of matinees and evening performances, it will stream for a month online. Welcome to theatre in the age of Covid.

Good Grief, written by Lorien Haynes, is the second production of its kind produced by Platform Presents, the innovative company designed for rising star talent on and behind the stage. Before Covid, the platform, founded by actress Gala Gordon and producer Isabella MacPherson, staged plays, poetry readings and performances across London, fostering new connections for upcoming creatives and showcasing exceptional new talent.

Now, following the success of Platform Presents’ world first, online, live, theatrical production of Tom Stoppard’s A Separate Peace starring David Morrissey and Jenna Coleman, Good Grief will become the first in a season of productions streamed online. No quibbling over seat prices - you can watch from your own bed should you wish.

Photo credit: Courtesy.
Photo credit: Courtesy.

Starring Sian Clifford, best known as Claire "I look like a pencil" from Fleabag, and Nikesh Patel, famed for his role of Foaly in Kenneth Branagh’s Artemis Fowl, Good Grief is a sharp two-hander. It’s a romantic comedy about grief, a timely, distinctly British humorous take on misery which may just prove the perfect lockdown watch.

The team is female-led, with its writer and producers rounded out by director Natalie Abrahami and composer (and fellow Fleabag alumni) Isobel Waller-Bridge. It is also, of course, an intriguing new breed of theatre.

“It’s neither film nor theatre, it’s a hybrid that’s why it’s so thrilling to be part of it, something that is so innovative and has been born entirely of this chaos,” says Clifford. “I always said it would take a lot to get me back on stage, but the play blew me away. I absolutely tore through it; it made me weep. I loved the idea of doing something radical and helping save our industry and to keep people engaged with the arts.”

Director Abrahami, who has worked with Platform Presents before, wholeheartedly agrees. “It’s thrilling to be forging a way to harness theatre in a different way at this moment in time. Our production of Lorien Haynes’ Good Grief is a love-letter to theatre,” she says. “It reminds us of the theatre that we love and miss, while finding a way to transpose the theatre into a different medium where we retain the immediacy and vital relationship between actor and audience that is at the beating heart of theatrical experience.”

Staged as it is, during a time of crisis for the artistic community and beyond, Good Grief offers more than just an intimate theatrical experience, but the chance to give back. ‘Supporter Packages’ are available at £150, complete with signed script and programme and a 20% donation on top of the ticket price (of £15) will be matched by the producers and donated to the NHS and Macmillan Cancer Care.

Book tickets here at originaltheatreonline.com.

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