25-29 February 2020
THE GOAT or WHO IS SYLVIA?
Pick Me Up's northern UK premiere of Edward Albee's controversial award-winning play The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, was a huge hit with critics and audiences at York's 41 Monkgate.
The cast – Bryan Bounds as goat-loving Martin Gray, Susannah Baines as wife Stevie, Will Fealy as 17-year-old son Billy, and Mick Liversidge as best friend Ross – had audiences howling with laughter and gasping in shock as the play moved from situation comedy to situation tragedy
Here are just some of the things reviewers and audiences said about the production:
"Albee’s The Goat is terrific. A powerful, funny, tragic, deeply affecting drama, drawn from a consistently talented cast by Mark Hird's nuanced direction. Hugely recommended."
“This is unmissable for every theatrical reason … the cast is as one in their delivery of this ground-breaking work”
“A tremendous example of ensemble playing”
“The cast are superb … the play is in masterful hands”
“I can only recommend that you see this play immediately. It is rare to get a production of this calibre in York.”
"An exceptional piece of theatre".
"An absolute joy ... such a brave choice of play to put on in York. Brilliant direction, design and performances. More of this sort of thing!"
"A pitch-perfect production"
"Excellent production, darkly comic writing, terrific performances and extremely thought provoking"
"Some of the best dramatic writing I have seen in York for some time"
"Pitch-perfect! What a treat to be able to see such quality theatre right on our doorstep. Brilliant and shocking!"
"Where's the therapy room?" (audience member after the performance)
"Jesus!" (audience member during the performance)
York Mix reviewer Ian Giles said: "Managing comedy’s shift towards tragedy is very tricky and this company makes it look easy under Mark Hird’s sensitive and unobtrusive direction. Bryan Bounds and Susannah Baines are superb as the warring couple. They are ably supported by Mick Liversidge as Ross and Will Fealy (a name to watch for the future) as Billy.
Charles Hutchinson said in his review: "Hird’s cast avoids histrionics; instead the rise and fall and rise again of anger, hurt, confusion, love, is far more skilfully played by one and all, pulling the audience this way and that.
"Will Fealy, such a burgeoning talent that he has just been offered an unconditional place at Arts.Ed in London, conveys all the confusions of illusions being shattered, certainties derailed, while dealing with his own sexual awakening."
The audience were up close with the Gray family as Stevie set about destroying everything in the living room, including beautiful vases, plates and bowls made specially by Gerry Grant of Fangfoss Pottery and fired in a way to ensure they broke easily and had no sharp shards.
The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? was a big hit with audiences when it opened on Broadway in 2002 – and went on to win the Tony Award for Best Play, 40 years after Albee won the same award for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Photos by Matthew Kitchen Photography