By Lynne Walker
In a time-shifting tangle of tales-within-tales, Michael Redhill’s Goodness explores, in the most intriguing way, the knotty question of why good people carry out the most evil crimes.
As the light goes down at the opening, voices from among the audience begin to sing. It’s an arresting moment, conveying the play’s theme of both the silent participation of watchers in a theatre and the complicit involvement of onlookers in a deeply troubled world. “How does it feel to be out there in the dark? Just watching. Invisible, but still a part of everything,” is the unsettling thread woven through the work.
This explosive play, its European premiere presented by Canada’s enterprising Volcano theatre, has genuine emotional texture, is rich in complexity, quirkiness and surprise, and not without brief shafts of wit. Redhill is a gifted writer whose parallel stories allude to mass atrocities, particularly the Holocaust and in Rwanda, with music from Zimbabwe, the Balkans and the Ukraine punctuating the action.
The imminent trial of an elderly Alzheimer’s sufferer, accused of murder on a hideous scale, adds another moral dimension. Thanks to the six strong actors, slipping in and out of various roles, I doubt if there will be a more gripping theatrical experience than Goodness at Edinburgh this year.
—Lynne Walker, Thurs, Aug 21, 2006