Nestled in what seems, somewhat appropriately, to be a shipping container in the Pleasance Courtyard, two creatures on a journey with no origin point or destination try to figure each other out. One is human and the other is an ape, but both have a deep distrust of everyone besides the other. Goody is a show about connection between species that establishes a similarly tenuous but tender connection with its audience. 

Worth seeing for any fans of intense, complex, human drama, Goody is a brutal display of animal cruelty and human compassion.

As we watch Frances, the fragile and occasionally vicious trainer, attempt to prepare his performing partner, Goody, we are treated to two of the finest performances at the Fringe that are only slightly let down by the quality of the material they are working with.

Goody is a simple story and the main issue with it is it is a touch too slight. Frances and Goody are preparing for a show, and in said preparation Frances talks about his past and the fraught but loving relationship he shares with his performing partner Goody. To say that’s all there is to it would be giving it too little credence, but the story doesn’t progress as much as it should. That flaw accepted, this show is a tour-de-force of acting talent. The obvious star is Lucy Roslyn as Goody, who inhabits the role totally, to an almost unsettling degree. Her performance is undoubtedly impressive but equally fascinating to watch is Jesse Rutherford as Frances, who allows his role to slowly develop over the course of the show. What starts as seeming forced is eventually revealed as intentional as the nervous recluse underneath the broken exterior of the character is exposed.

Goody is worth seeing on the strength of these two performers alone, but despite the overall narrative weakness there are also moments of beautiful relationship drama in the script. To reveal them would spoil much of their power, but a lot of Goody’s strengths rely on its ability to use information teased in earlier scenes to devastating effect later on in the play. Although one wishes these individual elements added up to a more satisfying whole, there are enough individual segments of Goody that are both darkly comic and devastating to make for an enjoyable viewing experience.

But at its heart this is an acting display for both Rutherford and Roslyn and they make the most of this opportunity. Worth seeing for any fans of intense, complex, human drama, Goody is a brutal display of animal cruelty and human compassion. Though it lacks a complex stage setup, with basic lighting and almost no props or costume, through strong acting performances Goody manages to create a world of its own inside the anonymous black box in which it is housed.

Reviews by Charlie Ralph

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The Blurb

Winner of Les Enfants Terribles Greenwich Partnership Award 2017. 1934, Dustbowl America. Backstage at the travelling circus, we discover the complex relationship between one man and his performing chimpanzee. Marooned in a world she does not comprehend, Goody finds comfort with her only companion: her trainer Frances. How do they communicate? How do they cohabit? Who is in control? Lucy Roslyn's new play is a striking, darkly funny exploration of the extraordinary, heartbreaking world of performing apes and the humans who live with them, love them and break them.