“Few actors can mission charismatic affability higher than David Tennant,” mentioned Dominic Cavendish in The Each day Telegraph. And fewer nonetheless have his capacity to modify off the attraction straight away and “go useless behind the eyes”, as we found when he performed the serial killer Dennis Nielsen in ITV’s Des.
In Good, set in pre-war Germany, Tennant performs one other “seemingly unusual man” – a liberal-minded literature professor, John Halder, who regularly turns into a part of the Nazi “killing machine”, washes his palms of his Jewish greatest buddy, and finally ends up arguing for the Closing Resolution.
First carried out in 1981, C.P. Taylor’s quietly terrifying play presents a “shocking and perceptive psychological slant” on the Nazis’ rise. Halder is just not “spurred by rousing speeches” and nationalist ardour – however slightly by bourgeois insularity, “self-interest and self-absorption”. And Tennant’s efficiency is “hypnotic”.
That is “fascinating psychological theatre with the texture of a fever dream”, amplified in Dominic Cooke’s manufacturing by daring, non-naturalistic staging, mentioned Arifa Akbar in The Guardian. Vicki Mortimer’s set is “gray and prison-like”; scenes change abruptly. The strangeness of all that is defined by a reveal on the finish, however “the payoff isn’t fairly shocking sufficient”. Nonetheless, there may be “sufficient intrigue, mind and positive performing to maintain us rapt”, and Tennant is “spellbinding in his ordinariness, not hiding Halder’s venality but guaranteeing he stays human”.
Tennant’s is a “chilling efficiency slightly than a shifting one”, mentioned Sarah Crompton on What’s on Stage. It falls to Elliott Levey, as Maurice, Halder’s greatest buddy, to find the play’s emotion, and he brilliantly conveys each Maurice’s humour and rising panic.
Sharon Small is equally persuasive, mentioned Dominic Maxwell in The Instances: she has to modify between components – Halder’s wives, his mom, a Nazi soldier – and does so in a method that’s “clear, unfussy, on the spot”. Don’t count on fireworks from this wonderful revival. “What you get is one thing stranger, extra insidious, and I believe far more memorable.”
Harold Pinter Theatre, London SW1