The Goat is a fascinating play by one of America’s greatest playwrights; a depiction of life utterly undone by an unforgivable transgression. Damian Lewis and Sophie Okonedo are excellent as disintegrating couple Martin and Stevie, ably supported by West-End debutant Archie Madekwe as their son Billy. The play suffers from too much ‘telling’, rather than ‘showing’, and in spite of Jason Hughes’ best efforts his character Ross is little more than a plot device. Nevertheless, this is an admirable production and a must-see for Albee fans.
Nadia Fall has misunderstood the play and, by seeking to make her mark on it, has come dangerously close to obliterating its impact. Bad casting and bad direction, however, is not enough to completely scupper Wertenbaker’s great play. In the end, the magical words she wrote come through – overcoming lightweight performances, an indulgent set, too grand a space and some interesting, but tiresomely intrusive, music.
The Royal Court has not had the best of runs recently, so it is heartening to report that in this new play by Gary Owen they have a really fine piece of writing in a memorable production that is fully in line with the radical and deliberately discomfiting traditions of this theatre. The action is disconcerting and uncomfortable at times to watch and until its denouement entirely convincing. The cast is uniformly excellent and the production values entirely in line with aims and ambitions of the writer.