What is ‘The Good Life’ to you?
To some, it’s just a phrase. To be ‘living the good life’ is to be living a life that fulfils you, whether that is through money, fame, love, or happiness.
For some, The Good Life is instantly recognisable as the classic family sitcom that ran in the late seventies, and still reruns occasionally on BBC4.
For suburban eco-warriors Tom (award-winning actor, presenter and comedian Rufus Hound) and Barbara (Sally Tatum) Good, ‘the good life’ is, apparently, complete self-sustainability.
As someone who is only familiar with The Good Life through a yearly viewing of its Christmas special, I found myself comforted by the faithfulness of the set and costume design, thanks to the hard work of Michael Taylor, who designed both.
Updated for a modern audience, this concept promises to be more relevant than ever. In a COVID-touched world full of online meetings and classes, who hasn’t dreamt of going off the grid?
Tom and Barbara certainly have.
The play revolves primarily around Tom’s 40th birthday and midlife crisis.
Margot (Preeya Kalidas), who I believe is the reason we even have the word ‘uptight’ and Jerry (Dominic Rowan), her ever-suffering husband, live next door.
Tom and Barbara adjust to their new goat-having, milk-churning, scarecrow-making life while Margot scoffs appropriately and Jerry signs wearily.
Havoc ensues at the neighbourly dinner, when their home-brewed wine is mixed with marijuana-spiked poppyseed cake courtesy of ‘Harry the Pigman’ (Nigel Betts).
While the writing fell a little short in places, and yes, maybe a laugh track would have been suitable, the actors put their heart and souls into the performance, and this is a must-see for any fans of the sitcom.
The Good Life is running at the Lowry Theatre from the 26th to the 30th of October 2021. Tickets are available here.