As we embrace this new normal of a wealth of online theatre, new and creative ways to bring theatre to life on screen have emerged. The latest of which is this "plilm" by Lorien Haynes. Named as such as it is neither a film or a play, the one act two hander comedy, Good Grief is a unique hybrid of both.
Good Grief stars Nikesh Patel (Artemis Fowl) as Adam and Sian Gifford (Fleabag, Quiz) as Cat - two friends dealing with the tragic loss of the woman they both loved. Over the course of 50 minutes, they come to terms with the situation, going through the different stages of grief as their relationship changes in surprising ways.
Grief is a tough subject to get right. You never want to make light of somebody's death and the process of feelings around it, yet you don't want to completely depress everyone by making it so alienating and invasive to watch. This production gets the balance perfectly right - allowing the viewer to be taken in to the situation, while being comfortable enough to laugh at the extremities on display. It makes it clear from the offset that this is a show you are allowed to laugh at and are actively encouraged. Once you find yourself laughing away within the first minute of the show, you will beimmediately invested in the piece.
Nikesh Patel and Sian Gifford provide an acting masterclass as the friends who come together in the face of tragedy. Nikesh, as Adam, puts on a brave face as he smiles through the heartbreak of losing his soulmate but the facade drops in moments as he remembers the true gravitas of the situation. Nikesh's performance is utterly convincing - intimate when it needs to be and grand in other times. Gifford, as Cat, bounces off of him perfectly - similarly going through her own complicated emotions, she plays the role as understated with a sense of vulnerability that emerges during her lowest moment. The pair have incredible chemistry which adds a much-needed sense of believability to the scenario. This is made all the more impressive when you take into consideration they had to rehearse this over Zoom.
With a different stream I watched recently, I commented that sometimes the scale of a production can be too big and that can, ultimately, take away from the impact of a show and destroy any escapism. I said that sometimes a "Less is more" approach can work in a productions favour. Good Grief is an example of this paying off perfectly. Director Natalie Abrahami takes us in to an imtimate setting - there are no grand sets on show during this. In fact, all of the action takes place in a single room, simply transformed through basic props as one scene moves into another. This evokes memories of watching a simple play on the stage. Its effectiveness is as good as it gets. It doesn't matter you are watching cardboard boxes turn into a cupboard - you are fully immersed in this production and believe anything you are seeing.
Grief is a subject we have all had to deal with at some point or another in our lives - perhaps more than usual in the last twelve months. To find a story you can relate to is the beauty of theatre and Good Grief plays this off perfectly with a story that gives you that much needed sense of escapism while grounding you with a sense of normality.
While Good Grief may seem small with the fact it stars two people in the space of one claustrophobic room at all times, the scope of the situation makes it appear much grander. This "plilm" is the perfect example of how a simple idea can translate on to stage or screen. Beautifully written, amazingly acted and incredibly staged, this short but sweet play is an absolute revelation that is guaranteed to make you laugh and cry within moments of each other.
Good Grief is available to stream on demand from Monday 15th February at 7.30pm until Thursday 15th April. Tickets available from https://originaltheatreonline.com/productions/13/good-grief
Take a look at the trailer below: