Saturday, 22 October 2011

Good - Royal Exchange, Manchester 22/10/11

The Royal Exchange's latest offering is a revival of C P Taylor's play, Good, set in 1930's Germany, as a Professor Halder, a man with a complicated home life (ill mother, neurotic wife, captivating student), gets increasingly caught up with the Nazi party.
The play is a complicated construct, jumping between situations and conversations in a non linear fashion, and also portraying Halder's inner thoughts and fantasies, including his tendancy to hear music in odd situations. I found it quite challenging to get used to its style to start with, and as such it was only on later reflection that I really picked up on some of the key threads. In fact, I don't think it was really until the second half when I really settled in to the style and pace of the play. But it was very clever in the way it portrayed the way an essentailly 'good' man was gradually sucked in to the sinister plans of the Nazi party, and the way his attitude to his Jewish friend, Maurice, changed over time.
Adrian Rawlins, as Halder, gave a fantastically energetic and accomplished performance. The play revolves around his character and as such he is on stage the whole time, switching from scene to scene, and from inner thoughts to dialogue at a breathtaking pace. His increasing alignment with the actions of the Nazi party was very disturbing and believeable.
The set design was simple but clever, although I wasn't wholly convinced by the big red curtain if I'm honest, seemed like a lot of effort for very little payoff! And there were some excellent effects incorporated into the action.
All in all a disturbing play, with a brilliant central performance, but quite exhausting to keep up with at times.


  1. Hi Alison - I've forwarded this on to my sister, who went to it to see it yesterday. 'Chaotic' was the term she used. Would you agree?

  2. That's a good description, certainly of the first half. But I think it was meant like that to represent the chaotic state of his mind - I just didn't completely 'get' that in the first act. Now I have had chance to think more about it I appreciate some of the themes a bit better. I did spend the first half hour very confused!