Thursday, 12 May 2016 03:13

Good People @ The Hudson Guild Theatre

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Good People

Written by David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Christine Dunford

The play "Good People," set in the working class ‘Southie’ neighborhood of Boston, examines the sheer force of will and fight for life that it takes every day for the many of us who struggle to put food on the table and to hold on to poorly paid jobs. It achieves this through humor, pathos, sarcasm and a sublime use of memorable and believable characters, whose familiar stories resonate and remain long after the play is over.

good people

Margret is the central character of the story and it is her difficulties around which the play revolves. After falling pregnant and leaving high school without graduating, Margaret’s baby is born with severe problems and her boyfriend leaves them both to fend for themselves. It is here that we meet her, after 20 years or more have passed, and the life she has struggled through has left its mark on her. But Margaret remains hopeful with a kind of raw, deeply emotional grace, and an array of friends who keep her close and do what they can.

Having been fired from yet another job, always for being late to work because of her daughter, she becomes more and more desperate. As her landlady’s understanding is wearing thin, she is persuaded by her friend Jean to look up her old boyfriend Mike, who has recently returned to Boston as a successful doctor, the local boy made good and to ask him to help her find work.

Mike seems nervous about reconnecting to his humble origins and his reluctance is read as judgement by Margaret, already insecure and full of self doubt. What follows is a profoundly authentic glimpse into the world of the half forgotten, blue collar, salt of the earth Irish American and a reflection on the chances gifted us that are rarely appreciated. The play is peopled with characters straight out of Chaucer or Dickens, each striving to do more than survive, to raise their own individual existences above the worries that wear us all down, money, purpose, and the search for love and respect.

good people review

"Good People" is clearly a brilliantly written play.


David Lindsay-Abaire won a pulitzer prize for his play "Rabbit Hole," and "Good People" has been nominated for two Tony’s, received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, the Horton Foote Prize, as well as the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award…not too shabby.

But what struck me most about it, apart from the clever, cutting humor, was Margaret’s painfully drawn tragedy and the insightful and intimate exposure of how fate makes and breaks us, and how remarkable we all have the hope to be, in the face of almost overwhelming odds and ever increasing pressures. How miraculous is the human capacity for faith. Faith in ourselves, in each other or in something better, something beyond the harshness of life.

I loved this production. Simply staged, touchingly performed and achingly real. Christine Dunford has taken what could well become a classic of the American stage and a group of truly astonishing actors and produced something profound, heartbreaking and beautiful.

Every single actor managed to deliver each character with such subtly and honesty that it almost seemed as if we were all sitting together, around the bingo table, cursing the bingo caller right along with them, reminding us that we are all of us only separated from one another by fate, and by geography, and by the accident of birth.

How magical this play is, to combine the sharing of our own deepest fears of inadequacy and self-doubt with hope, and the realization that the means by which we measure our success as people can be as flawed and fallacious as there are stars in the sky.

This production of "Good People" is utterly brilliant and a shining example of just how truly wonderful LA small theatre can be…I highly and thoroughly recommend "Good People" at The Hudson Guild Theatre.

The Cast
Kia Hellman (Margaret)
Tyler Meridith (Stevie)
Marsha Morgan (Dottie)
Laura House (Jean)
Shayne Anderson (Mike)
Keiana Richàrd (Kate)
Chip Bolcik (Voice of Priest)

The Design Team

Yuri Okahana (Set Designer)
Azra King-Abadi (Lighting Designer)
Maggie Lima (Costume Designer)
DJ Medina (Sound Designer)
Bethany Tucker (Prop Master)

Runs: April 29 through June 5, 2016
Plays: Fridays & Saturdays 8:00 PM; Sundays 3:00 PM
General Admission: $20
Buy Tickets: or 323-960-5770
Running Time: Approximately 120 minutes; there will be one 10 minute intermission
Where: The Hudson Guild Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038

Read 5400 times Last modified on Thursday, 12 May 2016 09:42
Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Writer, Filmmaker, Musician. Samantha has Produced over 60 short films and Written and Directed 20. She is the co-creator of 52 Films/52 Weeks and The Cinema Tribe Collective. She has written over 400 LA Theatre reviews and is partners in Xpress Records a Music Publishing Company in the UK.  This year she will be directing her first feature film which she also wrote, developing several others and is writing a children’s book. 

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  • Comment Link joseph dee Monday, 16 May 2016 16:39 posted by joseph dee

    I saw GOOD PEOPLE opening night, am going again next weekend. Why? Because as soon as the play started I was back in South Boston for starters. Besides the accents & attires & sets, the heart and soul of each character was dead on. The leading lady was a FORCE to be annoyed by at first but absolutely LOVED as the play moved...Thought little of her landlord as I should have (actress did a stellar job!), had an incredible amount of empathy for her best friend who's natural, tuff desperate humanity MADE you care a great deal, plus she was HILARIOUS! (GREAT writing) The leading lady's boss was another who MADE you care. Word around was that he was in the closet, and some of his mannerisms/gazes/poses/present locations made you wonder, and wonder or not you CARED about him and wanted him to be free whatever it took., another absolutely lovable character. Then the doctor who'd read his way outta Southie; Crème de la Crème of stage presence, and a guy I rooted for even though he couldn't see that the difference btwn. having a loving parent and NOT having one was major. He still had a little love in his heart for the old neighbors, and in this story a little went a long way. Amazing the way his accent was southie when he was talkin to a fellow southie and pure dignified when he spoke to his beautiful, also well educated wife. Her acting was ALSO terrific, and she exemplified a person who although didn't grow up on the wrong side of the tracks deeply cared about one that did, a true heroine. Go see it, get a weekend's taste of what really matters in life

  • Comment Link Amy S Monday, 16 May 2016 16:39 posted by Amy S

    I saw this production of "Good People" on opening night and I still can't stop raving about it. As a Boston native, the story and performances were so incredibly authentic but this play will absolutely resonate with anyone from anywhere. It is both thought-provoking with some really big laughs throughout as well. The acting was truly compelling and I hope to catch it again before the run is through. Well done!

  • Comment Link Wyatt Valentine Monday, 16 May 2016 12:43 posted by Wyatt Valentine

    Good People delivered beyond my, already high, expectations! Each member of the cast was riveting in their portrayal of these most authentic of characters. The script kept me on the edge of my seat through the entire performance. I was especially impressed by Kia Hellman and Shayne Anderson! Although, I must say, it's difficult to single out any one of these great performers. Please do yourself a favor and go see this Play!


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