Good Grief @ Arts Theatre, Adelaide 1/11/2023

Good Grief is another excellent play performed by the Therry Dramatic Society. It is their fourtth play this year after the successes of Four Flat Whites in Italy, Company and Home, I’m Darling. It is a play that is both a comedy and a drama with a thought-provoking end. It made me think about my life and the hold that the dearly departed have in our lives.

It is a play based on a book by the British novelist and playwright, Keith Waterhouse, who also wrote the very popular Billy Liar in 1959. Good Grief is a funny and tender story about recently widowed June Pepper who was the second wife of Fleet Street newspaper editor Sam Pepper. June chats to her invisible husband and we learn her ups and downs as she uses the audience as a conduit for her happy, sad and sometimes bitter dialogues. Other characters in the play are her stepdaughter Pauline, Dougie, whom June follows into a pub and bonds with after she sees him wearing her husband’s suit which she donated to Oxfam and Eric who is a former colleague of her late husband.

The acting is great as usual, especially by Sue Wylie who played June. Sue was on stage the whole time and did a fantastic job of making June a real person. Nida trained, Sue was recently in “Four Flat Whites in Italy” earlier in the year and has had many different roles over the years. Monika Lapka played Pauline beautifully whose poignant story slowly reveals itself. I was lucky to see Pauline in the play Arcadia last year at the Adelaide Uni. Peter Davies is faultless in his role as Dougie and does not put a foot wrong in his outstanding portrayal of a lonely man down on his luck looking to improve his circumstances. Tom Tassone rounds out the cast as Eric Grant and is superb as the cheeky ex-colleague who teases June with some old letters he has found from her late husband.

The director of Good Grief is Angela Short who has directed many plays I have been impressed with over the years. I remember her version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf for Holden Street Theatre in 2020 was for me much better than the one I saw in 2021 at the Dunstan Playhouse. She equally impressed me with her production of Good Grief.

Well done to the Therry Dramatic Society for another excellent play in this eightieth anniversary.

Theatre Review By Richard De Pizzol

Photo Credit: Don Oswald

Good Grief is on at The Arts Theatre, 53 Angas Street Adelaide until 11 November. Tickets HERE

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