Bristol Theatre News

Good The Play National Theatre Live Streaming Hits Hard

National Theatre Live is currently screening Good in cinemas nationwide – including Bristol. The revival of C.P. Taylor’s play was originally staged at the Harold Pinter Theatre last year, directed by Dominic Cooke. The play starred David Tennant as Halder, Elliot Levey as Maurice and Sharon Small as Helen.

Taylor’s play explores the early rise of Nazism. How ordinary everyday people become caught up in human rights atrocities so awful that it can barely be comprehended. Good people. And yet, the themes of the play are as relevant as ever.

There are many current issues which can connect to this play. The anti-disability rhetoric demonising disabled people by the DWP. The reduction of their rights through demand management policies by Local Authorities. Blocking disabled children’s ability to access education through wilful lack of Send funding. Sometimes until they are so depressed they harm themselves. All future echoes of Halder’s involvement in the T4 programme.

The Government’s Stop The Boats speech. Prison ships for refugees. Planes to Rwanda. Antisemitism. Good is a play that demands to be seen.

Thankfully, theatre is still fighting to come through the effects of the pandemic. Not everyone retrained in cyber. We still have that essential space to stage work that informs, entertains and can make statements in hard hitting ways.

Whilst nothing generally beats the experience of live theatre, somehow the screening of Good in the cinema equals it in important places. The close up of Elliot Levey’s face come the end. The silent tears. The beautifully subtle moments you sometimes miss when you have to sway around the heads of people in front of you. The close up of Tennant embraced with Sharon Small as they describe themselves as ‘good’ people is hard. Which is why the ending hits so much harder despite not having the same energy that live performance gives.

This is definitely worth watching. It’s a warning to everyone that by not saying no. Being flattered. Being weak. That human rights atrocities can and will be committed by ‘good’ people.

To find a screening of Good in a cinema near you:

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