Written by C P Taylor

Thursday 10th July to Saturday 12th July and Tuesday 15th July to Saturday 19th July 1986

Directed by Frank Lyons

This is a play about seduction. Most of us know what we find seductive. In Germany, in the Thirties, what made a decent, humane, liberal Mr Average like Johnnie Halder join the Nazis? This is Good.

AuthorC P Taylor

Cecil Philip Taylor (1929 - 1981)

Taylor was born in Glasgow and left school at 14. He worked as an electrician and television engineer and moved to Newcastle in 1955 as a travelling salesman. His plays are notable that they are often written in dialect and his 1962, historical drama about a miners' strike, 'AA Went Tae Blaydon Races', which opened the new Flora Robson Theatre is a typical example. During the 1960s and 1970s he worked tirelessly in the north-east as a community playwright: with kids in schools and youth theatres, students, people with learning disabilities and as a mentor of would-be writers. Taylor's love of music meant that he sang constantly, and played the piano and guitar, though apparently with more enthusiasm than artistry. In his later years he lived in the village of Longhorsley in Northumberland.


'Good' has been described as the definitive piece written about the Holocaust in the English-speaking theatre. Produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1981 and subsequently seen all over the world, it is a vivid and complex examination of Brecht's dictum that for evil to prosper, good men must do nothing. Set in pre-war Germany, the central character, Halder, is a professor of literature: a good, liberal-minded, music-loving man who step by carefully rationalised step ends up embracing the final solution.

The Bench Production

Good poster image

This play was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.


HalderDavid Penrose
SisterJane Hart
MotherJanet Simpson
ClerkBen Payne
DoctorCliff Harries
MauricePete Woodward
HelenIngrid Corrigan
BoullerPeter Holding
AnneAlison Habens
FreddieChris Shaw
HitlerSimon Baxter
BokBen Payne
ElisabethJane Hart
Dispatch RiderCliff Harries
OfficerBen Payne
EichmannPeter Holding
HessBen Payne

The Extremely Light Orchestra

Piano/Accordion Lyn Collins
Violin Simon Baxter
Cello Ellie Ling
Guitar David Ireland
Vocalist Gax


Director Frank Lyons
Stage Manager Jo German
Assistant Stage Manager Jude Salmon
Lighting Richard Stacey
Costumes Robbie Cattermole
Clawson Morris
Jane Hart
Musical Director Lyn Collins

Director's Notes

'Good' is set in Germany between 1933 and 1942. Primarily it is a play about the causes rather than the consequences of Nazism. It explores how a "Good" man gets caught up in the intricate web of personal and social reasons why the average person might be seduced in to what we now see as abhorrent. The play this emerges as a fiction with imaginary characters set against social history. The author, C P Taylor thus rejects the view that the Nazi atrocities are explained as a result of the simple conspiracy of criminals and psychopaths. Further the lesson of Nazism and the play are not just about the revulsion of six million dead but a warning about popular movements that lead to holocausts. In remembering these lessons we should this reflect on today's support given to Apartheid in South Africa, our fears of "enemies within" and our participation in the final final solution - a nuclear holocaust.

The play commences in January 1933. It was in January of that year that Hitler took office. Other historical moments referred to in the play are included:

Frank Lyons


The NewsJanice Macfarlane

Farewell to six million fair weather friends

Some of my best friends are Jewish but... six million of them still ended up in the gas chambers. C P Taylor's 'Good' shows how a decent, intelligent man whose best friend is a Jew could not only be seduced into joining the Nazis, but justify to his conscience the terrible actions which his position as an SS Officer demands. If ever there were a dire warning to woolly liberals, this is it - for Professor John Halder's agile intellect and his capacity to see the good in everyone are his own undoing.

Havant's Bench Theatre has taken on the challenge of this thoughtful play. There were signs of hesitation and unease among some of the principal actors, but Halder who is almost constantly on stage, is a perfect vehicle for David Penrose. His total confidence and talent for irony make it all fall into place. The set ingeniously gets round the limitations of the Old Town Hall space in accommodating a sizable cast, instant switches of scene, and five onstage musicians who punctuate the action with ironic musical footnotes.

In his director's note, Frank Lyons draws a moral parallel with issues of today - namely Apartheid and 'the final solution - a nuclear holocaust. But the real irony of a play like 'Good' is that the author had the benefit of hindsight, while the Halders of today do not.

The News, 11th July 1986

Letter to the Editor

Bench Mark

I would like to say how much I agree with Janice Macfarlane's review of the Bench Theatre's play 'Good'. A most rewarding evening for the sadly sparse audience. The quality and talent of the players deserved more. What a courageous production. Full marks to David Penrose and his supporting cast.

E M Denney (Mrs) Nore Farm Avenue, Emsworth, 16th July 1986

Production Photographs