Good Grief: Stories at 207 West 88th

Terriane Falcome offers a tour de force of writing and comedy, playing at the Theatre Box this Brighton Fringe. Good Grief: Stories at 207 West 88th is a series of loosely related monologues all taking place at the same New York City address and all dealing, in different ways, with a kind of grief. There is always a risk that consecutive monologues performed by the same actor could get monotonous. Not so in this case – Good Grief is always engaging, entertaining and the fact that this talented performer constantly switches characters only makes her audience want to learn more about each of her creations. The play is supported by an outstanding trio of musicians, Purple Pudding Clause, who offer incidental music to cover the scene changes.

This is a little gem, one that offers several slices of life that all make up a fabulous in-your-face New York cheesecake

Among these monologues, nine in all, are some gorgeously realized characters. Bruna, an Italian immigrant, sweeps the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral as penance for accidently killing her husband. Later she brings some tacky Christmas decorations to adorn his grave in an incongruously tender monologue. In another scene, a taxi driver recounts his chilling experience fighting in the Second World War and in another, a recently widowed young woman takes her first stumbling step back onto the dating scene. While some scenes are more harrowing than others there is always humour in the blackness.

At times, I longed for the monologues to be slightly more interwoven but if the structure isn’t seamless, it at least creates the possibility for a talented performer to deliver individually moving scenes. It was also very encouraging to see live music used so beautifully. It would have been so easy to offer pre-recorded music but the guitar-cello-percussion trio, Purple Pudding Clause lifts the whole production. This is a little gem, one that offers several slices of life that all make up a fabulous in-your-face New York cheesecake. Definitely worth a look. 

Reviews by Aidan Stark

Sweet St Andrew's

The Forecast

★★★★
The Warren: Studio 2

Rap Guide to Consciousness

★★★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

Good Grief: Stories at 207 West 88th

★★★★
The Warren: Main House

Cabaret From The Shadows

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Oliver Reed: Wild Thing

★★★★★
Paradise in The Vault

Discretion Guaranteed

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

‘Good Grief: 207 West 88th’ tells tales of various characters who live at, or are somehow connected to this building on the West Side of Manhattan. The main character is Bruna, the older Italian superintendent of the building – or, as she says, ‘soup of de build’. She is as outrageous as she is wise, and as insulting as she is innocent. She is the glue of the show and audiences fall in love with her. What the other characters recount ranges from comic to devastating and the show leaves the audience reminded that every person has a story.