Review: THE GOAT is Brilliant Comedy at The Stage At Burke Junction

Playing through June 30th

By: Jun. 08, 2024
Review: THE GOAT is Brilliant Comedy at The Stage At Burke Junction
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Edward Albee, whose odd middle-aged characters have fascinated American theatre-goers since 1962’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, explores what is perhaps his most interesting family dynamic in the 2002 Tony Award-winning play The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? The play is, as you might imagine, about a goat. This is not just any goat, though; this is a home-wrecking goat. Now, you might wonder how a farm animal could possibly drive a wedge in a solid family unit. Well, I’m here to tell you that it does so in a provocative and gut-busting script of genius and absolute hilarity.

When Martin, a successful architect who has just turned fifty, tells his wife that he is having an affair with a goat, she laughs. He laughs. We all laugh. After all, the very idea is ludicrous. No one has a relationship with a goat. Then, when being interviewed about his latest success by his best friend, Ross, Martin confesses to him that he is in love with another female named Sylvia. Ross is understanding until Martin delivers the blow…Sylvia is, indeed, a goat. Ross, who finds it acceptable to cheat on a spouse with a human, but not a goat, sends a letter to Martin’s wife, Stevie. Naturally, Stevie demands answers. Martin tries to give them. What follows is far-fetched, absurd, and ridiculously funny.

Knowing the subject matter and (incorrectly) assuming that this was a play sensitive to “goat fuckers” (Stevie’s term), I looked around and cautiously laughed the first time I heard something I found funny. I needn’t have worried, because the play is funny; relentlessly so. Sure, it explores the intricacies and fragility of the family unit, but the takeaway I got from it was the opposite of what I expected. It was an escape from reality and, although it did have some “ew, gross” moments, is an unexpected new favorite.

Giving life to Albee’s inarguably well-written script is a quartet of talented actors. Kurt Johnson returns to the stage as Martin after several years away from the theatre. Many may remember him as part of the B Street Theatre Company. He’s perfect as Martin and even resembles Bill Pullman, who played the same role on Broadway. His delivery is hilarious: deadpan, bewildered, and completely obtuse. I can’t imagine anyone better for the role. Lori Russo is his wife, Stevie. She knows a woman scorned. The hurt and anger come out in screaming rage and an acidic tongue. I felt a kinship when, through clenched teeth, she threatens Martin with my favorite line of the show: “I will bring you down with me.” Rounding out the cast are Peter DeMarzio as their son, Billy, and Gabriel Montoya as Ross. DeMarzio gives a sensitive portrayal of a young man trying to find his sexuality amid confusing emotions and a world that has just been upended. Montoya is fantastic as a shallow, narcissistic friend who justifies his actions as being altruistic. I can’t leave out the surprise star of the show. She holds the titular role and shows up only at the end but, trust me, the wait is worth it.

The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? plays at The Stage at Burke Junction through June 30th. More information and tickets can be found online at

Photo credit: Eric Jaramishian, Mountain Democrat


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