Skip to main content

Good Grief

Kings Theatre, Edinburgh
3 stars
Death clearly becomes Penelope Keith. Onstage, at least, that is. The 
last time everyone's favourite cut-glass matriarch appeared on the 
Kings Theatre stage she played a vicar's widow in Richard Everett's 
play, Entertaining Angels. This time out, Keith plays the widow of Sam, 
a tabloid newspaper editor in Keith Waterhouse's stage version of his 
comic novel. Keith first played June in 1998, when Good Grief played 
the West End a year after the novel was published. Fourteen years on, 
and three years after his own passing, Waterhouse's play now looks at 
times like he was penning an elegy for himself.

Keith is cast wonderfully against type as June Pepper, a hard-drinking 
northern lass who we first meet at home following Sam's funeral. Having 
promised him that she'd keep a diary of her thoughts following his 
demise, June's scribblings here become upstage asides. These become a 
form of therapy for June as she navigates her way between Pauline, the 
insecure daughter of Sam and his first wife, Sam's sleazy night editor, 
Eric, and The Suit, a gentleman scrounger who June meets in the local 
pub.

Waterhouse was always a better writer than he was a dramatist, and 
Keith delivers June's monologues with a deadly dryness in Tom Littler's 
touring revival for the Theatre Royal, Bath. There are some pithy 
observations on the ageing singleton's lot and how the bereaved can 
cling to memories. Any poignancy relayed over a bundle of rediscovered 
letters, however, is over-ridden by the ending's sudden lurch into 
1970s trousers-down farce. Even with such inconsistencies, to hear 
Keith swear with such common or garden gusto was a refreshingly 
shocking treat.

The Herald, October 4th 2012

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…