Good Grief NYC Reviews and Tickets

73%
(64 Reviews)
Positive
75%
Mixed
20%
Negative
5%
Members say
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Ambitious

About the Show

Nkechi was a good Nigerian-American girl. She did everything right. Went to med school. Made plans. Then life happened. A first-generation immigrant coming-of-age journey of love, loss, and growing into adulthood.

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Member Reviews (64)

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83
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great acting

See it if If you want a heartfelt memorable show. One that tugs on emotion.

Don't see it if if you don't want to focus to hard. If you do not want to listen, words are spoken in between lines if you will.

86
Affecting, Well played, Uneven, Beautifully written

See it if you'd like to see a solid play from an eloquent young writer about people who don't often appear on our stages: African immigrants to the US

Don't see it if you are looking for a straight, chronological, realistic play without any fantasy elements. Read more

Critic Reviews (22)

The New York Times
October 30th, 2018

"The very youthful profundity of such thoughts saturates this lyrical production, directed as a flickering string of moments by Awoye Timpo...In tone, ‘Good Grief’ brings to mind sentimental young adult novels of premature tragedy...In form, it is considerably more adventurous...'Good Grief' still registers throughout as an affecting study of the ambivalence of bereavement. And it is acted by a sensitive cast that finds the authentic emotion within even the most stylized scenes.”
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Time Out New York
October 30th, 2018

"Watching the play is like flipping through TV channels, alighting on different shows, and being moved by each out-of-context scene...The physical aspects of Timpo’s staging are less strong...Luckily, despite this noir nonsense, the actors keep playing in a major key. Anyanwu’s point is that we can take pleasure and solace in memories, even when they’ve been brushed by pain. The designers may zero in on the grief, but the rest of the show keeps its focus on the good."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
October 30th, 2018

“Its story is a heavy one, and could easily have gotten sucked into the whirlpools of weepiness. But Anyanwu and Timpo give it lift and breath. They make the play into a prism where, like light beams, we bounce between facets of memory and present circumstance...Anyanwu hardly ever cries. Not because she can’t go there as a performer, but because ‘Good Grief’ is interested in something else...Exploring not what grief actually looks like but what it feels like."
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Theatermania
October 30th, 2018

“A sensitive, if occasionally saggy exploration of grief and regret..Director Awoye Timpo stages these nuanced performances within an occasionally clunky production...Unfortunately, 'Good Grief' is unlikely to leave such a lasting impression. While heartfelt and well-performed, it is hamstrung by a lumbering production. It also doesn't say anything particularly revelatory about grief...It's good, but not great."
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Lighting & Sound America
October 31st, 2018

"The script consists of delaying tactics designed to keep Nkechi from reaching the inevitable moment when she must stare down her grief if she is to move forward...Anyanwu, the actress, is in the same fix as Anyanwu, the playwright -- clearly talented but without a clear way forward to make dramatic sense of Nkechi's troubles. In its final stretch, 'Good Grief' proves to be mildly touching -- but, really, one should be devastated"
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Talkin' Broadway
November 2nd, 2018

“A distinctly unconventional exploration of loss and bereavement...The magic in Anyanwu's writing is her ability to craft dialogue that sounds natural, while at the same time working in a vernacular that's distinctly her own...Beautifully directed by Awoye Timpo...Making sense of our mortality is one of life's inevitable riddles and Anyanwu's lyrical and heartfelt attempt to dramatize one young woman's search for an answer is as poignant as it is moving.”
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New York Stage Review
October 30th, 2018

“At its heart 'Good Grief’ is honest and engaging. But it’s hampered by Anyanwu’s overwrought structure...The central characters, N and MJ, are more than appealing enough to grab our hearts. So why mess around with Zeus and the gang...Though it centers on N and MJ’s friendship...'Good Grief’ is at its best, and most grounded, during a scene between N and her brother...It’s low-key and heartfelt, and more magical than anything any of those gods could possibly conjure up.”
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Theatre is Easy
October 30th, 2018

"Gorgeous and poignant...Anyanwu’s storytelling is completely unique and constantly engaging. The non-linear timeline is reminiscent of human memory: sometimes we remember things differently than they really happened, maybe because we remember things the way we wished they’d happen. Awoye Timpo’s direction tackles the disjointed timeline easily, with pacing and staging that make perfect sense, allowing the audience to follow the story without any confusion."
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Theater Pizzazz
October 30th, 2018

“Sometimes, it’s difficult to know if scenes are flashbacks or unfulfilled wishes...Directed by Timpo, there seems to be more repetition than needed to get points across. The cast shines in its uniformly high level performance of Anyanwu’s play and, in particular, the playwright as Nkechi. But, I often wonder about the use of so much street language in these contemporary plays as it tends to denigrate rather than elevate and show a more respectful approach."
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CurtainUp
October 31st, 2018

“Anyanwu again demonstrates her gift for creating likeable characters and writing natural dialogue...’Good Grief’ comes off as working too hard to stage an essentially simple story of loss and regret with cutting edge originality. Despite...making the death of a major character part of Nkechi's journey to adulthood, ‘Good Grief ‘ just doesn't strike the viewer's emotional chords as deeply or effectively as 'The Homecoming Queen' did."
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Front Row Center
October 31st, 2018

"A love song about losing your best friend. ‘Good Grief’ is lyrical and human...Anyanwu’s performance doesn’t do honor to her words; while being heartfelt and engaged, she is also restrained and inhibited...However, Anyanwu is supported by an incredible ensemble...Overall, ‘Good Grief’ is a moving piece that will make you feel feelings and bring you back to moments you’ve shared with your best friend or your first love in amazing, awkward, and human ways."
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Front Mezz Junkies
October 31st, 2018

“As the lead character, the playwright does the piece justice, with all her heart and soul...As directed with a swiftness and secure spirit by Timpo, the boy in question, MJ, rises out of her memory formulating into some sort of greek mythological god, shining in the night sky like a constellation. It’s hard to know what separates the myth from the man, but the connection and engagement ring true and touching. Perfectly portrayed."
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Exeunt Magazine
November 1st, 2018

"If this sounds like a lot to take in, it is, and not because it’s difficult to follow. Awoye Timpo’s clear, if stagnant, direction makes the story mostly easy to follow, despite a lack of variance in her staging...What makes Anyanwu’s play so frustrating is the amount of ground she is attempting to cover in 90 minutes...Since there’s so much to squeeze in to such a limited time, the audience never gets to see these ideas pushed as far as they could go in a more focused text."
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Broadway Blog
November 1st, 2018

"Anyanwu’s writing is both ethereal and spiritual, adding levity to what would otherwise be a heavy trudge of trauma. Yet she veers off course when she allows her characters to ramble on about mythical figures...'Good Grief' is at its best when it delves into the human interactions...Director Awoye Timpo handles the serious nature here with more mirth than one could expect...What makes 'Good Grief' so special is the unique lens from which this story is told."
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T
October 31st, 2018

"Dully undramatic…The characters aren't especially unusual, the situations border on the banal, and the play lacks dramatic thrust. For all the drama's incidental moments of human connection, its ruminations on death and loss, and its occasional intimations of laughter, 'Good Grief' is essentially a static memory piece cum lamentation…Director Awoye Timpo gets fine performances from the ensemble, with especially noteworthy contributions from Anwanyu and Quinlan."
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Times Square Chronicles
October 31st, 2018

“The tender and budding moments between MJ and ‘N’ are touching, as are the interactions with her immigrant parents...The cast is exquisite, as they each weave their characters into fully fleshed human beings...Nkechi’s writes characters that are so abundantly human, flawed, universal and lovable...Timpo directs this piece with sympathy and pathos. She brings out themes and keeps this fragmented memory play, coming-of-age story, interwoven, poetic and relatable.”
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Gotham Playgoer
October 30th, 2018

“It took me less than 30 seconds to take a dislike to the new play...Before the play begins, thick stage fog rolls over the audience...Bright lights...shine in people’s eyes...With all these distractions, this modest memory play about a young woman immobilized by grief almost gets lost in the shuffle...The acting is fine...Clearly, director Awoye Timpo is not someone who believes less is more. For me, the excesses of the production overwhelmed this slight play.”
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Stage Left
October 31st, 2018

“Anyawu, whose writing is achingly beautiful and original...This is the kind of free-flowing, deeply meaningful play that you feel before you necessarily understand—a treat...A play about grief, but it is not sad. My tears were tears of recognition—of the universally human experience and of the beauty of life itself...Director Timpo’s production leans into the mythic and celestial themes, making for a kaleidoscopic experience both humorous and moving."
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DC Metro Theater Arts
October 30th, 2018

“A fragmented tapestry of memory play...And under the direction of Awoye Timpo, the cast’s delivery is sometimes stilted and the scene breaks often lack fluidity, making the characters’ feelings and motivations seem forced and unnatural...Despite some inconsistencies I found, 'Good Grief’'s focus on the human complexities of dealing with the devastating loss of a loved one and finding purpose in life is given intelligent artistic expression by Ngozi Anyanwu in her affecting debut."
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Diandra Reviews it All
October 31st, 2018

“A simple, lovely pleasure...In just 90 minutes, it makes you laugh, cry, and think about how you grieve...Full of sweetness and innocence. Anyanwu and Quinlan are so natural in their portrayals of these characters that you truly feel like you are witnessing the blossoming beginning and the tragic end of a young love...Nearly every scene, from the humorous to the mournful, makes death feel like an unwritten character...I am in love with this play...especially its writing.”
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The Wrap
October 30th, 2018

"Each is uncomprehending of just how stuck Nkechi seems to be over MJ’s death...The play doesn’t shed much light on this question — nor does it gather much in the way of narrative momentum over the course of its running time. And occasional efforts to elevate the material to the mythic seem like too big a stretch for what amounts to a slight, if well-observed story of loss....But there is much to admire here, particularly in Anyanwu’s gift for dialogue."
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Off Off Online
November 2nd, 2018

“Anyanwu’s play mostly avoids the clichés that tend to reduce stories of death to stages-of-grieving checklists...This is familiar ground for second-generation immigrant stories, but the tropes are made fresh by Timpo’s magical-realist direction, which favors natural, relaxed speech...’Good Grief’ ends on a note of cosmic rejuvenation which the play never quite earns...N deserves to be more than her sadness. Grief can be good or bad, but it isn’t necessarily interesting."
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