Good Grief is an online play by Lorien Haynes and stars Sian Clifford and Nikesh Patel. It is a play that has been rehearsed on Zoom and filmed with strict Covid protocols in place. Whilst Good Grief is predominatly about grief it is also darkly funny at the same time as being moving.
It starts at the end of Liv’s wake, with Adam, her partner and Liv, her friend left alone to talk. It centres around the five stages of grief as you follow the pair from the wake to an Ikea car park to a hotel bedroom and finally to the ‘sad room.’
To say the piece is a play doesn’t really do the form justice, it feels partly like a film or a TV drama but there are elements of a fringe theatre set with cardboard boxes making up parts of the set and we are shown the scenes changes in black and white by a masked up crew. This fluidity in form meant that unlike some theatre streams I have seen where the audience at home misses being in same space as the other audience members, clapping and weeping together, the format feels more familiar to be watching on your TV. However it is removed enough from traditional TV dramas to still make me pine for theatre.
The piece succeeds as it steers away from clichés and instead the conversations feel honest and familiar. These very real conversations contrasted with cardboard boxes for set make for interesting bed fellows but it is this contrast that really makes the piece work. Your imagination means that the cardboard box that Cat hides in or the headboard of the bed they get into means that the audience can put their own stamp of familiarity onto these items.
The characters are well drawn, despite the fact that the piece is only 50 minutes long you leave feeling like you have known Cat and Adam for a long period of time. It is interesting, as when I reflected on this, it dawned on me that not much ‘superficial’ information is given away about them but this didn’t feel important. Instead I felt like I knew what made them tick…what made them laugh, what made them cry and what they both were longing for, no easy feat in a piece of this length. This is also down to the talent of Clifford and Patel who are so natural in these roles.
Good Grief is a cleverly crafted piece which purposely stays away from being pigeonholed into one particular art form and addresses grief with a touch of reality and a good measure of dark humour, all with an underlying sense of respect to the issue.
Good Grief is streaming until the 15th April and tickets can be brought here for £15.