The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?

Original London West End Production 2004

1st London West End Revival 2017


Play by Edward Albee. This Tony Award winning play is a startling play that questions the boundaries of love. In the same week as receiving an international prize, being awarded a lucrative contract and celebrating his 50th Birthday, Martin is forced to confess a secret to his wife and son. Subtitled "Notes toward a definition of tragedy". PLEASE NOTE: This play contains adult themes and is therefore not suitable for children.

Edward Albee's other West End plays include The Lady From Dubuque and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? 2004 starring Jonathan Pryce

Previewed 22 January 2004, Opened 3 February 2004, Closed 13 March 2004 at the Almeida Theatre
Previewed 13 April 2004, Opened 15 April 2004, Closed 7 August 2004 at the Apollo Theatre

A major production of Edward Albee's new play The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? in London starring Jonathan Pryce

The cast at London's Almeida Theatre and the West End's Apollo Theatre featured Jonathan Pryce as 'Martin', Kate Fahy as 'Stevie', Eddie Redmayne as 'Billy', and Matthew Marsh as 'Ross'.

Directed by Anthony Page, with designs by Hildegard Bechtler, lighting by Peter Mumford, and sound by Matthew Berry.

"It makes for a disturbing piece, well spiked with seriously funny lines but ultimately as savage as Greek tragedy... Joanthan Pryce pulls off the impossible task of persuading us that this intelligent, sophisticated man is truly, deeply and, probably, madly in love with a goat, and at the end of his tether. His pain is so real, so felt, so raw that we feel tremendous sympathy... Oddly enough, Stevie, powerfully by Pryce's own wife, Kate Fahy, prompts rather less sympathy, perhaps because she's a little too self-possessed. Eddie Redmayne is outstanding as their gay son, spilling over with tears of rage, incomprehension, disgust and grief... Devastating, draining drama. Highly recommended." The Mail on Sunday

"Edward Albee has said that he is interested in probing 'the limits of tolerance,' and in making Sylvia a goat, he is as much as anything testing our tolerance of the grotesque. The Goat is, in fact, extremely witty, especially in its earlier scenes, and Anthony Page's production makes the most of its comic opportunities. There are laugh-aloud moments of embarrassment, incredulity, misunderstanding, fussing over verbal detail. But the comedy soon darkens, and with Jonathan Pryce, who plays the part, on superb form, Martin's pain is very real... It is a remarkable piece of work, and Page's production ensures that it makes the impact it deserves. Pride of place among the actors inevitably goes to Pryce, but there are fine performances from Kate Fahy as Stevie, Eddie Redmayne as their son and Matthew Marsh as Ross." The Sunday Telegraph

"For a while it's belly laughs all the way as veteran playwright Edward Albee's cracking dialogue milks the bizarre comic situation for all its worth. But slowly jokes are replaced by genuine pathos as Martin is powerless against all-engulfing love. What a fabulous actor Jonathan Pryce is. As Martin's cosy life unravels he stands alone while in her hopeless rage Stevie, played with impressive intensity by Pryce's real life wife Kate Fahy, begins to literally smash up the happy home. Superbly directed by Anthony Page, Albee's stunning drama is about limits of acceptable behaviour." The Daily Mirror

The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? in London at the Apollo Theatre previewed from 13 April 2004, opened on 15 April 2004, and closed on 7 August 2004


The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? 1st London West End Revival with Damian Lewis 2017

Previewed 24 March 2017, Opened 5 April 2017, Closed 24 June 2017 at the Haymarket Theatre Royal

A major revival of Edward Albee's darkly comic play The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? in London starring Damian Lewis and Sophie Okonedo

The cast features Damian Lewis as 'Martin' and Sophie Okonedo as his wife 'Stevie' with Archie Madekwe as his son 'Billy', and Jason Hughes as his friend 'Ross'.

Directed by Ian Rickson with designs by Rae Smith, lighting by Neil Austin, music by PJ Harvey and, sound by Gregory Clarke.

Damian Lewis' West End stage credits include playng opposite John Goodman in Daniel Evans' revival of David Mamet's play American Buffalo at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2015 and starring alongside Keira Knightley in Thea Sharrock's revival of Molière's comedy The Misanthrope at the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2009. Sophie Okonedo is probably best known for her Oscar-nominated role in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda. On stage, she won the Tony Award for 'Best Actress in a Play' playing opposite Denzel Washington in Kenny Leon's 2014 revival of Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin in the Sun.

When this revival opened at the Haymarket Theatre in April 2017, Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard praised how "Sophie Okonedo and Damian Lewis impress in this thoroughly strange play... The play is ingeniously manipulative, and in Ian Rickson's handsome production it's a vivid portrait of a marriage under immense strain... 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." Paul Taylor in the i Newspaper explained that ,"having interviewed Edward Albee four times, I think he would have been dumbfounded by the brilliance of Ian Rickson's inspired and superbly acted revival of this 2002 play. Indeed, I suspect that not even he thought that a piece somewhat patronised hitherto as an astringent provocation was the full-blown masterpiece - a wildly funny, yet sensitive satire on the limits and limitation of liberal tolerance - that it's revealed to be here. Damian Lewis gives the performance of his life... Sophie Okonedo brings a fabulously funny fierceness to the platesmashing reactions of the wife Stevie... Archie Madekwe is splendid as the gay son... while Jason Hughes is spot-on as the bigoted old friend who witnesses it all... Unmissable." Ann Treneman in the Times highlighted how "Damian Lewis is five-star perfect here... Sophie Okonedo, who is a furious rather than curious wife, is a superior crockery smasher. Their son, gay and vulnerable, is played by Archie Madekwe in a brilliant debut. Ian Rickson directs and the pace is uneven, lagging particularly in the second act... There was a lot of surreptitious watch checking. The play itself felt dated. It's the performances that earn the three stars here." Neil Norman in the Daily Express hailed: "Damien Lewis is terrific... Ian Rickson’s production is beautifully observed and the absurdity of the plot never overwhelms the essential humanity of the characters, however twisted... While Albee is clearly challenging the audience with a mischievous dissection of liberal values, he maintains a balance between incredulous laughter and genuine pain. Weird but immensely watchable." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph thought that "Ian Rickson's account of a work that was in the West End not so many moons ago (2004) does it few favours... this is the third time Lewis has starred in a West End vehicle with a strong comic component. And it's high time someone - his agent? - told him stage comedy isn't his strongest suit... I remain goat-stubborn in my belief that this could be better." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times said that the plotting was "It's daring and bizarre, sometimes laboriously so," adding that "in Ian Rickson's compelling production, Damian Lewis's pale, twitchy Martin doesn't quite convince you of the sincerity of his love but he does nail beautifully his bafflement and the obdurate reasonableness of someone who can't admit the destruction they are causing. Sophie Okonedo is brilliant: blistering, bruised, combining acid put-downs with raw anguish." Michael Billington in the Guardian wrote that Damien Lewis "pushes his capacity for guilt-ridden secrecy to the limit as the transgressive hero of Edward Albee’s 2002 tragedy. But the great thing about Ian Rickson’s superb revival is that Sophie Okonedo, as Lewis’s wife, reminds us that this is not simply a play about a lost individual but about two people staring into the abyss... The revelation of Rickson’s production, however, is that is as much a play about marriage as about erotic fixation." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail complained that "Edward Albee’s 2002 play The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia? is self-indulgent, faux-daring rubbish, a repetitive ‘taboo-challenger’ about a man having a fully sexual love affair with a goat. Folks, it’s baaaaad... One or two members of the Haymarket audience adopted expressions of chin-stroking fascination but most just sat there in glum silence, aching for the 100 minutes to end. Understandably, there is no interval. The place would empty if they had a half-time."

The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? in London at the Theatre Royal Haymarket previewed from 24 March 2017, opened on 5 April 2017 and closed on 24 June 2017 (note - no performances from Monday 29 May through to Saturday 3 June 2017)