Home » London Theatre Reviews » Good Grief by Lorien Haynes | Review

Good Grief by Lorien Haynes | Review

At a time when deaths in the hundreds and even in excess of a thousand are announced in televised press briefings from the UK Government by way of PowerPoint slides, Good Grief is a timely if uncomfortable reminder of how an individual death affects those left behind. Adam (Nikesh Patel) has lost the love of his life, Liv, to cancer. His friend Cat (Sian Clifford) offers both emotional and practical support, but their friendship grows into, well, something else, which almost inevitably raises questions about what their other friends will make of them becoming an item.

Good Grief - Nikesh Patel and Sian Clifford.
Good Grief – Nikesh Patel and Sian Clifford.

That said, it is difficult to say whether they are an item, because bedroom activity does not in itself constitute a relationship, and it could well mean that the duo find themselves not all that compatible after all in the long run, once the intense grieving following Liv’s passing subsides. There are some hard-hitting issues that are explored in this drama, and some dark humour permeates the narrative, which won’t be to everyone’s taste, but does at least provide some comic relief at a distressing time.

There’s some ‘shaky camera syndrome’ in the first scene which I found disorientating, but thankfully this isn’t a recurring theme. Elements of the storyline are rather contrived, like a handwritten letter that is only sent to Adam from beyond the grave when certain conditions have been satisfied, but overall the script is engaging and intriguing in equal measure. The backgrounds of the characters must be pieced together from the selective details supplied, and names like Ben and Sally are dropped into conversations with little context, which makes the show comes across as highly naturalistic.

That isn’t to say the script lacks punchiness: on the contrary, it can be searing in its observations, such as Adam’s decision to hold Liv’s funeral in a church despite Liv being an atheist. At forty-five minutes long (should that be ‘forty-five minutes short’?) it is perhaps unsurprising that it ends abruptly, on a cliff-hanger, just as the show felt like it was really picking up pace. Perhaps there will be a sequel at some point. As it stands, it’s intriguing and irreverent, with two actors at the top of their game.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

The global online premiere of ‘Good Grief’ by Lorien Haynes, starring Sian Clifford (best known and BAFTA-winning, Emmy and Critics Choice Award-nominated as Claire, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s uptight sister Claire in the global phenomenon ‘Fleabag’) and Nikesh Patel (‘Foaly’ in ’Artemis Fowl’) is Monday 15 February.

Good Grief, directed by Natalie Abrahami (‘Anna’ at the National Theatre, ‘Machinal’ at Almeida), is a romantic comedy about grief. Sharp, funny, brutal, irreverent and quintessentially British.

Good Grief is available to stream February 15th – April 15th 2021


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