Reviews are in for C.P. Taylor’s play GOOD at the Harold Pinter Theatre starring David Tennant.
Directed by Dominic Cooke (Follies), the revival stars David Tennant, Elliot Levey and Sharon Small. Other cast include Rebecca Bainbridge, Izaak Cainer, Jamie Cameron, Jim Creighton, Edie Newman and Lizzie Schenk.
GOOD is playing an 11 week season at the Harold Pinter until 24 December 2022. GOOD tickets on sale here.
Olivier Award-winning director Dominic Cooke reimagines one of Britain’s most powerful, political plays with David Tennant playing John Halder – a decent, intelligent, music-loving German professor, who finds himself swept along in a movement that crescendos towards an unthinkable finale.
Reviews include The Times, The Guardian, The Financial Times, and more.
More reviews to follow.
Book tickets to GOOD at the Harold Pinter Theatre
"Tennant’s nice then Nazi in this insidious revival"
"In this hugely rewarding revival of CP Taylor’s 1981 play about Nazi Germany, he [David Tennant] plays an academic, John Halder, who doesn’t mean to become a Nazi. He doesn’t want to become a Nazi. Heavens, his best friend is a Jewish psychiatrist. So how does he end up as an SS officer, spouting antisemitic dogma as he heads towards a death camp?
"And how, without histrionics, does Dominic Cooke’s quiet revival end up scooping out your innards? It doesn’t do it hastily. For the first half, you may find yourself admiring the clarity of writing without falling entirely prey to it."
"Don’t expect fireworks. What you get is something stranger, more insidious, and I suspect much more memorable."
"David Tennant grips in 1930s-set ethical drama Good"
"'We probably are good,' says David Tennant’s Halder, meditatively, towards the end of CP Taylor’s Good.That’s something we all want to believe of ourselves, but never want tested by circumstance. Up step three brilliant pieces of drama to test it for us: to probe and unsettle our consciences and to pitch individual morality against social responsibility. This is drama as ethical and emotional workout: bracing, riveting, galvanising."
"Tennant is riveting: witty and intensely human but also brilliantly precise, shifting between private and public self, affability and irritation, all the while evolving from reasoned detachment towards chilling self-preservation. His physicality is superb — as angular and taut as a coat hanger — his body suggesting what his mind refuses to admit. Around him, Elliot Levey and Sharon Small, both excellent, play everyone else, bringing shape to characters who are coloured by Halder’s memories of them."
"David Tennant is chillingly plausible"
"This stark play is an important rather than an enjoyable watch"
"David Tennant is chillingly plausible as John Halder, the ‘good’ German who gradually accommodates himself to Nazism in this stark and hard-hitting revival of the late CP Taylor’s 1982 drama. Dominic Cooke’s stripped-back, almost abstract production implicates us all in a remorseless journey towards dehumanisation. It’s become more rather than less pertinent after a two-year Covid delay to its planned 2020 premiere."
"Vicki Mortimer’s set is an angled, strip-lit concrete cell with two hatches. One delivers a deluge of books onto the stage, the other frames a furnace. The sound design covers not only the music Halder hears – brass bands, jazz, Schubert, Mendelsohn - but the pages he turns and the orders he reads, distilling the action down even further. Mostly the actors just sit or stand."
"David Tennant gives a meticulous performance"
"A chilling warning against the apathy and self-regard that allows evil to thrive"
"It’s a steely work that operates by stealth. Its violence accumulates with each act of treachery, self-delusion and cowardly justification. Dominic Cooke’s production, stripped back to the bone, is led by David Tennant as a man who permits his humanity to be grotesquely warped by circumstance and compromise. It’s a meticulous performance of cold, creeping horror, made more terrifying by its plausibility. He’s not some gargoyle: he’s utterly ordinary."
"That it’s all so weirdly muted only makes it more hellish – a cry of protest strangled in the throat – and the play’s pertinence, in our age of populism, scapegoating and sloganeering, remains sharp. It’s a grim nightmare of quietly lethal potency."
"David Tennant is magnetic as a Nazi professor"
"In this reimagining of the 1980s modern classic, Tennant gives a compelling account of the emotional distance we can create between ourselves and our actions"
"This timely revival, reminding a 2022 audience of the consequence of dreadful compromise, is anchored by a behemoth of a lead performance by David Tennant, who proves once more what a magnetic stage presence he is."
"There can be no getting around the fact that this is a tough play and without the star wattage of Tennant it would stand little chance in the contemporary West End. He is ably supported by Levey and Small, who deftly demarcate their multiple characters."
"David Tennant is magnificent in chilling drama"
"Revived with a superb cast, CP Taylor’s play about a professor embracing nazism is fascinating psychological theatre with the feel of a fever dream"
"Good is an inherently discursive play which hangs on its final reveal and director Dominic Cooke ekes out the drama until it blooms into compelling psychological theatre with the feel of a fever dream."
"The strangeness of this staging – its scale and non-sequiturs – is explained at the end, but the payoff isn’t quite surprising enough. Never mind because there is enough intrigue, intellect and fine acting to keep us rapt. Tennant is spellbinding in his ordinariness, not hiding Halder’s venality yet ensuring he remains human. Levey plays the lovable Maurice first with desperation, when he is begging his friend for help, then with terrible, tragic silences."
"Good is a gradually enraging drama that makes us hear afresh the denials that lead populism into dangerous waters, and may well be a lesson for our times."
"David Tennant is hypnotic in muddled Nazi drama"
"Dominic Cooke’s revival of CP Taylor’s 1982 play, about a liberal professor who is lured by Nazism, is a mixed bag"
"In the lead role, David Tennant is stonily cold and compassionless in his sink from goodness, but Dominic Cooke’s confused production needs more clarity for it to fly."
"David Tennant is transfixing"
"Now revived with terrific David Tennant – the more acute because the more restrained – as the vague, gently acquiescent professor who drifts apparently seamlessly into becoming an SS officer, it is a finely calibrated evening that does not quite land its punch."
"It is good to see a production of this calibre in the West End. Yet this is an intriguing rather than a truly disturbing play. In the absence of any strong sense of political forces other than the Nazis, the central important dilemma – the negotiation between individual conscience and social action – is diminished. The hero’s ideological capture is too easy: he is vacant from the beginning."
"David Tennant’s hero isn’t a nice man, he’s a Nazi swine"
"This production’s big draw is David Tennant as Halder. Tennant is a rangy, tight presence on the stage. A dry sort of lemon."
"I was expecting greater shading, a stronger sense from the start of Halder making a tragic mistake"
"Tennant’s performance is linear, unshowy and rather a disappointment."
"Not quite good enough to pierce the heart"
"David Tennant represents the 'good' in CP Taylor's remarkable 1981 play."
"... Cooke's attempt to universalise the argument somehow neutralises the shock value. Tennant's weedy, needy Halder is clearly weak from the outset and his eight-year slide from decency to involvement in Kristallnacht and Auschwitz offers few surprises."
"All three perform beautifully and there are a couple of visual surprises that deliver a substantial impact. The sound design, staging and economical casting all suggest that this is unfolding inside Halder's mind as he replays his descent from humanity to horror in some kind of afterlife."