Print this Page

NY Theater Reviews

Frances McDormand and Renee Elise Goldsberry/ Ph: Joan Marcus



David Lindsay-Abaire has topped his Pulitzer-winning domestic drama Rabbit Hole, and Daniel Sullivan brings out strong performances from the entire cast.

Because he's been too busy writing screenplays and mediocre musicals based on movies, it's taken David Lindsay-Abaire five years to write a worthy follow-up to his Pulitzer-winning domestic drama Rabbit Hole. But Good People, which is also being staged by Manhattan Theatre Club and directed by Daniel Sullivan, actually surpasses Rabbit Hole, which at times felt like an annoying Lifetime television movie, on numerous levels.
It begins with Margie Walsh (played by Frances McDormand), a single mother raised in a blue-collar neighborhood in South Boston, being fired from her cashier job at a dollar store. She had shown up late for work too many times in order to care for her grown-up mentally challenged daughter. On the verge of being evicted and desperate for a new job, she looks up Mike (Tate Donovan), a former boyfriend who escaped the old neighborhood and went on to become a wealthy doctor. Although Margie is initially invited to a party at Mike's home, where she hopes she can meet employers, she receives a call that it's been cancelled. But convinced that Mike's wife forced him to disinvite her, Margie shows up at his doorstep anyway.
A brilliant and uproarious second act consists of an extremely tense conversation over wine between Margie, Mike and his younger, very intelligent wife (Renee Elise Goldsberry). While Margie derides Mike as "lace-curtain Irish" and ashamed of his roots, Mike blames Margie for her poor economic situation.
The play is consistently funny, topical, well structured and extremely insightful on class mobility and prejudice. Daniel Sullivan brings out strong performances from the entire cast, including an eccentric turn from Estelle Parsons as Margie’s chain-smoking landlord and a fiery performance with a combative edge by McDormand.