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The Goat

The National Business Review, 23 September 2005



Strange Lovers:  Laughter between the Revelations
by John Daly Peoples

With The Goat, Silo Theatre has put on another of those unexpected plays which make it the most dynamic theatre in the country. 

The play concerns Martin, a top architect who has to face the disbelief and anger of his wife, son, and friend when he admits to having a sexual relationship with a goat. 

In crossing the boundaries of what society accepts as acceptable behaviour, Martin puts himself in a position of being despised and ostracised.  He attempts to come to terms with his actions and their impact on others, but he also wants others to accept his dilemma. 

Albee's plays often concern the artificial values which society adopts and which tend to be the values of mainstream society.  His situation can be seen as analogous to the place of gays; to be sure we get the point, Martin has a gay son.

In referring to the Shakespeare poem about Sylvia, Albee has raised the issue of pure love and the notion that "beauty lives with kindness".  There is a suggestion that in having a liaison with a goat he has had some sort of aesthetic epiphany. 

Michael Hurst as Martin gives a performance of painful realism which is gratifyingly understated with no outbursts or pleas for understanding. 

The histrionics are reserved for Stevie, his wife, played by Jennifer Ward-Lealand, who gives a stunning performance, changing from the witty wife of the first act to the outraged and traumatised figure of the second act.  She also has the cathartic task of smashing their ceramic collection and littering the stage with books and CDs. 

As well as having some brilliant acting by Paul Barrett and Kip Chapman, the play is full of clever dialogue, which keeps the audience laughing between all the shocking revelations. 

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