GOOD PEOPLE (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 96% – SWEET

Jane Kaczmarek and Jon Tenney star in "Good People" at the Geffen Playhouse. Photo by Michael Lamont.

SWEET
Although Kaczmarek is the shining star of the show, she isn’t the only standout in the L.A. production of Good People. The sets, by designer Craig Siebels, are stunning, changing from a back alley to a kitchen to a church hall to a suburban mansion. And Marylouise Burke is an inveterate scene-stealer as Dottie, Margie’s landlord and bingo buddy.
Tanner Stransky – Entertainment Weekly

SWEET
“Good People” is good stuff, a keenly observed rumination on how far decency can get you and how much depends on sheer luck as you try to grab a piece of the American Dream.
Bob Verini – Variety

SWEET
The play, which was nominated for a Tony last season, is receiving its West Coast premiere in a sharp Geffen Playhouse production that gives Los Angeles audiences a crack at figuring out where exactly things went wrong for a woman who doesn’t always make it easy for us to feel sorry for her. It’s an intriguingly difficult case, one that bravely touches (with as much humor as seriousness) the one subject left in America that’s still largely off-limits — social class.
Charles McNulty – LA Times

SWEET
Jane Kaczmarek is bold and brilliant, brassy and brittle as Maggie. Through her eyes, we the audience — an affluent Westwood-seated group — get a glimpse of a world where the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ rarely intersect. The writer has instilled here a powerful work of great heart, unanswered questions, and self-sacrifice (for a retarded child) and self-preservation (anything to survive, no matter how embarrassing.)
Jay Weston – Huffington Post

SWEET
This seriocomic gem from the author of “Rabbit Hole” and “Fuddy Meers” makes its socioeconomic points through conflict and character, as its magnificent Los Angeles premiere production memorably demonstrates.
David C. Nichols – Backstage

BITTERSWEET
Such is the case with David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People, which gets a terrific production at the Geffen Playhouse, but the play itself never quite impressed me as first tier.
Terry Morgan – LAist

SWEET
This play is one that will haunt you, mournfully and with an occasional chuckle. Lindsay-Abaire has never forgotten the pungent tone of Southie and it all comes through.
Laura Hitchcock – CurtainUp

SWEET
But the bigger fish do swim back around in this tank, and director Matt Shakman gives the cast latitude to explore the complexities of these lives in a way that both draws the audience in even when we’re learning things that aren’t so nice about them and perhaps about ourselves. It’s a strong showing for the Geffen and comes recommended.
Brian – OutWestArts

SWEET
In his extraordinary production of Good People at the Geffen, director Matt Shakman has validated the necessary ingredients of a great show:
Tony Frankel – Stage and Cinema

SWEET
Besides the sharp dialog, the Boston accents, wit, and laughter, this play has food for thought. I’m still thinking about it. You will be too. Our audience loved it and so did the ensemble cast.
Audrey Linden – LA Examiner

SWEET
The set design by Craig Siebels is perfectly detailed and as directed by Matt Shakman, the action and actors all excel. This isn’t a play as hard-hitting as Rabbit Hole, and at times it recalls a slightly darker Roseanne episode, but it ultimately becomes a compelling study of what we do to survive. And what it means to be good.
Kevin P. Taft – Frontiers

SWEET
Matt Shakman’s generous direction gives each member of this talented cast the chance to shine. Craig Siebels’ set captures the light interior and dark exterior of Southie, and, in Act Two, the cultivated tastefulness – guided by cable television programs and expensive, glossy magazines — of the 21st century nouveau riche in America.
Thomas Waldman – NoHoArtsDistrict

SWEET
Lindsay-Abaire’s tight script (with no extraneous words) features a number of unpredictable surprises in a fast-paced two-hour-10-minute production, and it’s a pleasure not knowing or guessing what’s coming next. Director Matt Shakman gives the actors (and the audience) just enough time to breathe between thoughts.
Gil Kaan – Culture Spot LA

SWEET
Director Matt Shakman skillfully unleashes the comedy, and deftly leads his fine cast in meticulous exploration of the loaded emotional issues. Kaczmarek’s Margie is a tough-but-tender rough diamond, while Tenney is limited by a character who’s essentially a charming-but-craven heel.
Neal Weaver – LA Weekly

SWEET
Now onstage at the Geffen, Good People gets a deservedly stunning production with great direction from Matt Shakman and a sterling ensemble.
Don Grigware – BroadwayWorld

SWEET
Elizabeth Harper’s light design, coupled with Jonathan Snipes’ original music and sound design, all work together to visually enhance this superb production, which boasts a uniformly gifted ensemble, that will leave you laughing with tears in your eyes.
Beverly Cohn – LASplash

SWEET
With the help of remarkable performances and beautiful set designs, “Good People” delivers a collection of performances that provoke the audience to think about class, race and gender when they leave the theater.
Brittany Taylor – Daily Bruin

SWEET
“Good People” is a rare creature, indeed. It is a well-acted, compelling, relevant story that is told with both depth and some fantastically humorous moments. Here’s hoping American theater will be treated to more similar stories!
Katie Buenneke – Neon Tommy

SWEET
Good People was nominated for a Tony and you’ll find it hard to believe that it didn’t win.
Ingrid Wilmot – Will Call

BITTERSWEET
All in all, the tired themes make Good People a decent production but not really a great play.
Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

SWEET
Good People is an extremely well-written and very good play by David Lindsay-Abaire. The entire production is top-notch from the wonderful cast directed by Matt Shakman to the lavish set design by Craig Siebels.
Carol Kaufman Segal – Reviewplays

SWEET
With tough economic times and financial hardships today, and many a single parent trying to stay afloat, art truly imitates life. Good People is sure to pull at one’s heartstrings.
Bonnie Priever – LA Examiner

SWEET
The cast is exceptionally good thanks in part to the direction by Matt Shakman who managed to find every punch and innuendo and the result is riveting.
Robert Machray – Stagehappenings

SWEET
Good People resonates long after the curtain call.
Cristofer Gross – TheaterTimes

GOOD PEOPLE
Geffen Playhouse
10886 Le Conte Avenue, L.A.
8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays
Ends May 13, 2012
Tickets: $47 – $77; (310) 208-5454
Running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

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LemonMeter About the Author: We don’t “review” shows here at the Lemon, rather we "review" reviews by gathering them from a variety of local review sites around the internet, judging them to be positive or negative, then forming an aggregate score that we call a LEMONMETER RATING, showing how well that show has been reviewed in total. For more detail on how the LemonMeter works visit here.

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  1. “… but not really a great play.” = BITTERsweet.

  2. I’m too tired to fight.