Good People brings humor to touchy situations at The Old Globe

By Diana Saenger

Let’s Review

From crafting bunnies and playing bingo to causing havoc in the life of an old flame, Margaret (Eva Kaminsky) has a lot going on in The Old Globe’s San Diego premiere of “Good People.” Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire has written a sharp script about her, with great one-line zingers delivered with plenty of laughs from amusing characters.

When Stevie (James McMenamin) has to take employee Margaret out to the trash area behind the Dollar Store, Margaret knows she’s in for a lecture. Sure she’s been late to work almost every day, but she whines to her friend that she can’t just leave her physically challenged daughter unattended. She expects yet another nag session and isn’t ready when Stevie says the boss wants her GONE.

Life as a “Southie” in Boston has not been easy for Margaret. She’s barely paid her rent and put food on the table. And instead of getting help from those closest to her; she gets warnings and useless advice.

Sitting around a kitchen table her landlord Dottie (Robin Pearson Rose), wants to know how Margaret will pay the rent. Pearson Rose is perfect in the role, throwing out a funny quip for every conversation, while never missing a beat in sewing a stitch.

Friend Jean (Carol Halstead) plays the middle road, often using curse words to tell Dottie how lame she is or accusing Margaret of being too nice. The three relieve their tensions by playing bingo at the local church – always hoping to win the small pot to make the next week a little easier.

When Margaret hits one closed door after another while job hunting, her friends convince her to visit her old boyfriend and ask for a job. Mike (R. Ward Duffy) is now a doctor, married and in another town nearby. Margaret gives in and calls on Mike, dragging all her miserable life along with her.

Mike, caught off guard and not sure how to handle the sarcastic and sometimes condescending Margaret, somehow ends up inviting her to the birthday party his wife has planned. Margaret shows up — even though Mike called her to tell her the party was canceled.

The night goes entirely wrong. Duffy and Nedra McClyde, who plays his wife Kate, give an authentic performance in a three-ring circus of uncertainly, distrust and blame.

Kaminsky excels as Margaret, a mother caught in a spiderweb for survival, and she is excellent in opening the door for all the humor that reigns.

If you go

What: “Good People”

When: Matinees, evenings to Oct. 28

Where: 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park

Tickets: From $29

Box Office: (619) 23-GLOBE