David Lindsay-Abaire's Tony-nominated Good People, having its L.A. premiere, takes an oblique look at the issue of class in America. Margie (Jane Kaczmarek), like the playwright, grew up in a tough, South Boston neighborhood. Her daughter is severely retarded, and Margie, a single mom, has just been fired from her job as cashier at the Dollar Store. To try to find a job, she looks up Mike (Jon Tenney), who went to high school with her but now is a successful doctor with an upscale house in Chestnut Hill.
For most of act one, the piece feels like a funny but slight character comedy. But in act two, when blue-collar Margie pays an unexpected visit to the now-genteel Mike and his elegant, privileged wife from Georgetown (Cherise Boothe), conflicts erupt. Director Matt Shakman skillfully unleashes the comedy, and deftly leads his fine cast in meticulous exploration of the loaded emotional issues. Kaczmarek's Margie is a tough-but-tender rough diamond, while Tenney is limited by a character who's essentially a charming-but-craven heel.

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