Reviewed by Joan Tupponce
Cadence Theatre Company in partnership with Virginia Rep opened its season with the comedy Good People, marking the theatre’s second production by Pulitzer prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire.
The winner of the 2011 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, Good People takes place in South Boston’s Lower End where single mom Margie is about to lose her job at a South Boston dollar store because she is habitually late to work. She pleads with her boss, Stevie, who is a family friend, to overlook the problem and let her stay, but he has to keep management happy.
After losing her job, Margie and her two friends Jean and Dottie try to plot out Margie’s next move. Remembering that Mike, an old high school flame, is now a successful doctor, Margie decides to visit him and see if he can help her get a job. When she is at his office, Margie finds someone very different from the boy she knew years ago. She coaxes Mike into inviting her to a party at his home. When he calls to let her know the party is cancelled, she thinks he doesn’t want her there so she decides to go anyway.
The events that occur after her arrival reveal not only a longtime secret but also the fact that some people choose to embrace their past and glorify it while others just want to forget and move on.
Director Anna Johnson has put together a fantastic cast for this production. Alexander Sapp, who plays Stevie, is very convincing in his role as the manager who is torn between his friendship and the decision he has to make.
Jacqueline O’Connor, who takes on the role of Margie’s friend Jean, and Kelly Kennedy who plays Dottie, the owner of Margie’s apartment building, both provide performances that are funny, feisty, and fine-tuned.
Katrinah Lewis takes on the role of Kate, Mike’s wife, with gusto, giving a top-notch performance. She expertly captures the nuances of her caring but confused and angry character.
Dawn Westbrook is the perfect Margie. She has mastered everything from her comic timing to Margie’s South Boston accent. Westbrook breathes fire and passion into the role. Her Margie is a force to be reckoned with.
Kudos also go out to Brian Barker for his quick changing scenery and to Janet Rodgers for her dialect work.
Good People is an entertaining comedy that anyone can relate to at some point in his or her life. The show is produced by Cadence Theatre Company in partnership with Virginia Rep and runs through November 9 at Virginia Rep’s Theatre Gym. Purchase tickets at www.va-rep.org or by calling (804) 783-1688.