News: Sian Clifford and Nikesh Patel to star in the world premiere of Good Grief

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’, directed by Kenneth Branagh) are to star in the global online premiere of ‘Good Grief’ by Lorien Haynes.

‘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.

At a time when the theatre world is faltering, with theatres closed and jobs cut, this online filmed production sees the convergence of a new theatre and screen team to create a theatrical format which will stream online and be downloadable worldwide, giving employment to the industry. ‘Good Grief’ will be rehearsed on Zoom, then filmed in a studio adhering to all Covid protocols.

Sian said: ”It’s neither film nor theatre, it’s a hybrid that’s why it’s so thrilling to be part of it, something that is so innovative and has been born entirely of this chaos. It’s really thrilling, a bit of a brain maze, structured around the stages of grief. I always said it would take a lot to get me back on stage, but the play blew me away, I absolutely tore through it, it made me weep. And I loved the idea of doing something radical and helping save our industry and to keep people engaged with the arts.”

Also part of this predominantly female strong team are Isobel Waller-Bridge, re-partnering with Sian Clifford having worked with Sian on ‘Fleabag’, who is developing the sound design and score. Alongside her is Fin Oates as Editor, (‘I Hate Suzie…’), award-winning Emma Dalesman as Director of Photography, Natalie Pryce as Production Designer (winner, Production Designer, Black Theatre Awards 2020).

Gala Gordon and Isabella Macpherson, of Platform Presents will co-produce with Amy Gardner of Finite Films.

‘Good Grief’ follows the success of Platform Presents’ world first, online, live, theatrical production of Tom Stoppard’s ‘A Perfect Peace’ starring David Morrissey, Jenna Coleman, Denise Gough, Ed Stoppard, and Maggie Service, which garnered a clutch of 5-star reviews in in May 2020. It will be the first in a season of productions streamed online which can be viewed across the world, from the best seat in the house – your own.

Writer Lorien Haynes said: “When I wrote ‘Good Grief’ – as a heartfelt one act comedy – no one said it was long enough to produce on stage. For it to have a life now – virtually – at a time where we miss and need theatre – is a truly wonderful thing. Theatre has to survive and our art adapt, to make storytelling vital in the midst of this pandemic. I am so grateful for this short, sharp play to get out there – and shout ‘GO THEATRE. We’ll be back’. I hope this new stage, the 45-minute virtual playing space, raises the curtain for fresh work, new playwrights and new form of theatre to guide us through these trying times. It should be there to remind people that we will always find a way to tell our stories. Whatever we are up against.”

Director Natalie Abrahami said: “It’s thrilling to be collaborating with Platform Presents again and forging a way to harness theatre in a different way at this moment in time. Our production of Lorien Haynes’ ‘Good Grief’ is a love-letter to theatre. It reminds us of the theatre that we love and miss, whilst finding a way to transpose the theatre into a different medium where we retain the immediacy and vital relationship between actor and audience that is at the beating heart of theatrical experience. I am excited to be working with such a talented company on screen (Sian Clifford and Nikesh Patel) and behind the scenes (Emma Dalesman, Fin Oates, and Natalie Pryce).”

Tickets launch on December 15 via Original Theatre and ATG tickets, with the production available to view from February 15, 2021.

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