REVIEW ROUND-UP: The Goat, or Who is Sylvia at Theatre Royal Haymarket

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Ian Rickson directs this revival of Edward Albee’s play, The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia?, which stars Damian Lewis and Sophie Okenedo and runs at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 24 June 2017. What have critics been saying about it?

The Independent: “Damian Lewis (of Homeland fame) gives the performance of his life.”

The Guardian: “The revelation of Rickson’s production, however, is that is as much a play about marriage as about erotic fixation.”

A Younger Theatre:The Goat is a peculiar but enjoyable little play. It’s an absurd reflection of reality, but a reflection nonetheless.”

Carn’s Theatre Passion: “Lewis and Okonedo do phenomenal work keeping the intensity levels high for extended periods.”

The Stage: “Sophie Okonedo, as Stevie, arguably has the harder task. But her performance is rich, her emotional responses to the situation convincing.”

Time Out: “Ian Rickson is a director usually characterised by glacial restraint, but his revival feels overpowering, milking (oh God, everything feels like a livestock-related innuendo) the play’s humour to the point where its delicacy is lost.”

London Theatre.co.uk: “Ian Rickson’s production remains faithfully literate and straight down the line, confronting the material head on and doesn’t attempt to mask in humour.”

Variety: “for such an exacting director, he goes missing here.”

London Theatre1: “hilariously funny and amazingly shocking in equal measure and will leave the audience thinking about their own liberal left leaning trendy ideas about what is considered acceptable and what is not in a modern society.”

Hollywood Reporter:  “The saving graces of this production lie primarily in Okonedo’s powerhouse performance and Albee’s signature rapid-fire duologues, which crackle with wry asides and witty wordplay even during the more heated exchanges.”

Attitude: “There is much to admire from this excellent production, not least what a brilliant piece of writing it is.”

The FT: “Okonedo, meanwhile, is brilliant: blistering, bruised, combining acid put-downs with raw anguish.”

Broadway World: “A decent rendition of a play that still asks searching questions about social morality, and the form and power of love and sexuality, but overshadowed by that big Albee beast around the corner.”

British Theatre.com: “an admirable production and a must-see for Albee fans.”

The Telegraph: “I began, just, to believe the hurt in Okonedo’s rage (the rage of all those betrayed by infidelity) and the final desolation of Albee’s protagonist. I remain goat-stubborn in my belief, though, that this could be better.”

Evening Standard:  “But the writing, for all its interest in smashing taboos, isn’t as dark as it needs to be and its wit is pretty resistible.”

Islington Gazette: “thanks to stellar performances and Albee’s masterful rat a tat dialogue your attention never flags.”

The Upcoming: “The seriousness with which Martin’s feelings for his farmyard paramour are treated means the ending, which strips away the talk of taboo to focus instead on emotional betrayal, has an undoubted power. It is disappointing, then, that much of what comes before is so inelegantly executed.”

Culture Whisper: “Whether you consider the bestiality as a metaphor for the playwright’s own experience of sexuality or a broader examination of taboo, The Goat or Who is Sylvia? still feels bracingly new.”

Live Theatre.co.uk: “The lead performances and creative values of this production more than do justice to a play that takes no prisoners and is deliberately intended to divide audiences.”

City Am:  “Lewis is outstanding, earnest and likeable despite his countryside liaisons.”

Emma Clarendon on Twitter
Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at theatre_emma.
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Emma Clarendon on Twitter
Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at theatre_emma.