'Good People' review: Class divide with a Boston accent

Editor's note: Hampton Theatre Company, reacting to popular demand from people who were unable to get out last week due to Hurricane Sandy, has extended the run of "Good People" through Nov. 18. The play received favorable reviews, including this one from Newsday:

 Mikey is one of the "Good People" Margaret is counting on to help get her through this latest rough patch. They grew up together in Southie, a part of Boston that few born into it escape. But Mikey, a reproductive endocrinologist -- "fertility doctor," he translates for Margaret -- is among the lucky ones. He's made it all the way from Southie to posh Chestnut Hill.

David Lindsay-Abaire's Tony-nominated 2011 drama, which won the Horton Foote Award for new American play, makes its Long Island premiere with a Hampton Theatre Company production directed with a keen sense of class destiny by Sarah Hunnewell.

There are those who've made it and those who never will.

Margaret, played with a passive-aggressive chip on her shoulder by Morgan Vaughan, never catches a break. Pregnancy caused her to drop out of high school decades ago. Now, late for work again, she's about to get fired. Her upstairs landlady, who baby-sits Margaret's now-adult daughter -- another rough-patch story -- has overslept. Margaret reminds her boss, Stevie (Brennan Vickery) -- she's old enough to be his mother -- of the time his mom shoplifted a turkey and was caught when it fell out of her coat onto the floor. "Who threw that bird at me!" Margaret quotes her. Stevie fires Margaret, anyway.

Her sister, more aggressive than passive as played by Linda May, says she saw Mikey in the neighborhood and, in a thick Southie accent, encourages Margaret to ask him for work. Dr. Mike (a defensive, far-less-accented Joe Pallister) agrees to meet her in his office. Margaret dismisses his success as "lace curtains." Taking the insult as a dare, he invites her to his birthday party. He calls later to cancel. Skeptical of his excuse, Margaret shows up, anyway. Dr. Mike's wife, Kate, mistakes her for the caterer.

Nehassaiu deGannes as Mrs. Mike artfully treads the boundary between surface civility and sisterly disclosure of marital secrets. Together, Kate and Margaret gang up to push buttons Mikey thought he'd deactivated.

The set by Diana Marbury, who doubles as Margaret's irksome landlady, and James Ewing transports us seamlessly from Southie to Chestnut Hill. But it's a tougher trip for the natives.

 

 

'GOOD PEOPLE'

 

WHEN | WHERE Thursday night at 7, Friday and Saturday at  8 p.m., Sunday  at  2:30 p.m., through Nov. 18, Quogue Community Hall, 125 Jessup Ave.

TICKETS $10-$25; hamptontheatre.org, 631-653-8955

 

 

David Lindsay-Abaire's plays on LI

 

Pulitzer-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, author of "Good People," which earned a 2011 best-actress Tony Award for Frances McDormand, wrote two other plays that have been performed on Long Island.

* "Rabbit Hole" The winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for drama, the play also won a Tony for Cynthia Nixon's best-actress performance. She played Becca, mother of a 4-year-old killed by a passing car as he ran into the street after his dog. John Gallagher Jr. portrayed the teenage driver who seeks forgiveness from the dead child's parents. The 2010 movie starred Nicole Kidman as Becca.

* "Fuddy Mears" Spoiler alert! "Fuddy mears" are the words that spill out of the mouth of a stroke victim when she attempts to say "funny mirrors." The title reflects the main character's chronic amnesia. Claire wakes up each morning with a blank slate that her husband and teenage son fill in, only to see the cycle repeated. The play, Lindsay-Abaire's first New York success, opened Off-Broadway in 1999.

* Other plays by Lindsay-Abaire include "Wonder of the World" and "Kimberly Akimbo." But his most popular writing credit may be for Broadway's "Shrek the Musical" (2009). He wrote the Tony-nominated book. A Boston native whose birth name is David Abaire, the writer, 42, lives in Brooklyn with his wife, the former Christine Lindsay (now Lindsay-Abaire), and their two children.

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