Remy Bumppo Theatre Company presents
At Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln
Written by Edward Allbee
Directed by James Bohnen
Wednesdays to Saturdays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 2:30pm
Thru May 8th
Running Time: One hundred minutes with no intermission
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
Heterosexuality, homosexuality, prostitution, voyeurism, incest, pedophile, bestiality: one man's sexual revolution is a war on what is considered taboo. Remy Bumppo Theatre Company presents THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA? A successful architect is turning fifty. His work is receiving prestigious awards. His twenty-two year marriage is a solid partnership. His life appears of the happily-ever-after variety. When his best friend arrives to interview him for a TV show, Martin is distracted. At Ross' urging, Martin reveals his secret, a six month long affair with a goat. THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA? is not just another bleating heart hook-up. It's a love triangle where the scapegoat is actually a goat. Inconceivable! The far-fetched lunacy is hilarious until the gut-wrenching reality is devastating.
Playwright Edward Albee knows how to make an unsettling impression. Albee creates a normal world of relationship nicety and then drops the goat. The sex talk swings all ways cueing up a graphic peep show of the imagination. Disturbing! Under the direction of James Bohnen, every emotion is explored and exhausted within the tight 100 minutes. Annabel Armour (Stevie) and Nick Sandys (Martin) have that fun-loving synergy of a couple that enjoys intellectual witty banter. Even during the lovestock barn burner, they complement each other for well-worded metaphorical jokes. As the betrayed wife, Armour is every angle hysterical. She wails and flails with out-of-control impulsiveness. She also jabs the punch line with comedic precision. Sandys has the complicated task of garnering empathy as a goat-f#cker. With an unimaginably romantic tenderness in his telling the how-we-met story, Sandys blurs the lines between fetish and fondness. The provocative dialogue pokes at the forbidden in defense of free love. After the climax, you don't necessarily want to smoke but you definitely want a drink.
Albee has made a living stirring up thought-provoking, messy lives for consideration and entertainment. In THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA?, his infidelity twist continues to percolate in my mind. Albee thrusts bestiality out of the closet for discussion. What I didn't like is Albee's linking homosexuality with incest and pedophiles. I understood it as a plot point. I fear it as fuel to the fire for the so-called moral majority. But liberal or conservative, gay or straight, traditional or same-sex, any marriage woes compared to goat sex seem somehow surmountable. Let the girl and the goat kidding begin.
Continuing to muddle with it, James describes it with 'somewhat fulfilled affair.'