Review: Good Grief (online)

With everything that’s going on in the world right now, a production about grief and loss might not be at the top of everyone’s viewing list, but Good Grief is most certainly worth a watch. 

Written by Lorien Haynes, this dark romantic comedy stars Nikesh Patel and Sian Clifford as Adam and Cat, two friends who are mourning the loss of Adam’s partner Liv, who recently passed away from cancer. Over the course of 45 minutes the show picks up just after Liv’s funeral and spans several months as the pair try to come to terms with their loss as they form a close bond.

Produced by Finite Films and Platform Presents, which was also responsible for the live theatrical production of Tom Stoppard’s A Separate Peace in May 2020, Good Grief is a successful hybrid of theatre and film.  There’s beautiful cinematography and editing from Emma Dalesman and Fin Oates respectively, and scenes framed by black and white footage of crew members dressing the stage (all adhering to Covid-19 protocols), a reminder of the theatre we’re all missing right now. Director Natalie Abrahami has created a subtle and natural production which impresses throughout, and the all-female creative team is completed by Isobel Waller-Bridge, whose beautiful music adds emotion to the piece.

Lorien Haynes perfectly captures the process of grieving with its many ups and downs and the result is an incredibly powerful and heartfelt production. There are some heartbreaking scenes which truly devastate, with dry humour woven in before it gets too dark. Though Liv never appears on screen she’s a constant throughout, and by the end of the show the audience feels as though they’ve also been grieving her loss, willing Adam and Cat on as they head on their path to acceptance.

Nikesh Patel and Sian Clifford both put in strong, realistic performances as the two friends and have great chemistry throughout. Nikesh Patel is brilliant as the bewildered Adam, completely believable as he struggles to come to terms with his girlfriend’s loss, unable to part with her belongings one moment, giving them away unexpectedly the next. Sian Clifford has proven herself as a great actress with her recent performances in Fleabag and Quiz and continues her top form here. She’s equally good as the fragile Cat, putting on a brave face and lightening the mood with her brilliant put downs, then breaking down when she thinks no one is looking. The pair’s journeys are compelling to watch, with the final scene certainly heart-wrenching, and these impressive performances, coupled with the strong script, take the audience on an emotional rollercoaster they won’t forget.

With thousands of families mourning loved ones during this pandemic, Good Grief is a timely production that deals with a tough subject impressively and sensitively. Warm, funny and heartbreakingly sad, Good Grief is a compelling two-hander that leaves you desperately wanting more. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Good Grief is streaming until 15 April.

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