Sorry we’re so slow getting started today. This September-in-November weather groove has us thoroughly confused. Anyway, CanStage continues their trend of staging pretty much anything that has been successful on the stages of New York City in the past four years (not that we’re complaining; we thought Take Me Out and Urinetown were the best shows we’d seen at the Bluma in ages) with Edward Albee’s 2002 Tony Award-winning play The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?, which has its official opening tonight (we caught a preview yesterday). It’s great to see Albee on Toronto’s stages, and given the respect of a stellar cast. R.H. Thompson is great as Martin, a successful architect who, the week of his fiftieth birthday, admits to his best friend that he’s been having an affair with a goat (the eponymous Sylvia) for the past six months. This news wreaks havoc on his relationship with his wife, Stevie but seems to bring him closer to his son, Billy, whose homosexuality Martin has been having difficulty dealing with (a fact that seems somewhat ironically hypocritical, given the circumstances).
Albee’s dialogue is sharp, clever, and holds nothing back. His characters are so erudite and well-spoken that, even in the midst of a plate-smashing argument, they are frequently congratulating one another on particularly brilliant turns of phrase. It is quick, nuanced language, and would be lost on less intelligent actors, but fortunately Thompson and Gina Wilkinson (as Stevie) fully embody every well-educated aspect of these characters. Wilkinson is especially compelling as the wronged wife – she managed to be simultaneously self-contained and completely out of control.
Hilarious, tragic, and nowehere near as absurd as the subject matter might suggest, The Goat is well worth a visit to the Berkeley Street Theatre.
The Goat, or Who is Sylvia runs until December 10 at the Berkeley Downstairs.