A Guest Review by Scott Davis of Runway Theatre in Grapevine. Between directing and acting soon, and being a company member with L.I.P. Service, I’m backing way off from reviewing much for a while. Features will still flourish. Cheers!
Weird, wild, or experimental theatre is nothing new to our world. A few writers flourish with it including Beckett, McDonough, and Lee but then there’s Albee. I don’t know if you should call him truly experimental or not, but when you see an Albee play you know it’s going to be different. This one is way, way different.
Through June 11 L.I.P. Service brings to DFW one of Edward Albee’s more recent works, The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?, at the Rudy Seppy Studio Theatre in Irving, directed by Shawn Gann. The Seppy Studio space is small, but Gann uses the space tremendously well, keeping action flowing all the time. Gann’s choices for casting “The Goat” were absolutely brilliant…with well-seasoned, veteran actors. Van Quattro’s delivery as lead character Martin is almost bland throughout the show, but that makes his retorts even funnier as they are delivered, and drives his visual presence as well. Through Act 1 and 2 his character seems emotionless, but in act 3 a transformation happens. It’s a wonder to watch how much feeling Quattro imbues in his role.
No one character makes a show. In this production, it takes all to keep things rolling. Quattro shares the stage with lots of talent. Morgana Shaw’s performance as Stevie Gray is stellar. I have seen a lot of actresses in my time, but none emote her feelings as visually well as she does. You could feel the pain and angst she was going through just by watching her facial expressions. The two main characters gelled together so well it seemed they had been married for a long time.
Jason Leyva brings a reality to the show, even as he takes a back seat to some of the other characters. How powerful an actor Leyva can be! In “The Goat”, he commands the situations and becomes the power driving the scene to reality.
Garrett Reeves plays the son Billy. Reeves conveys the frailty and innocence of a young man struggling to deal with his own issues as well as his parents’. Reeves does an impressive job keeping up with the serious talent surrounding him. He keeps his composure and delivers a wonderful performance.
Technically the show works well, given the venue’s space challenge. The costumes fit the time period. Props Master George Meek earns commendation for all the “expendables” in this show. I was amazed at how many objects get broken on this set. Branson White designed the lighting, a great job in a very tough space. Danica Bergeron’s sound design worked well with the show for the most part. I did get a little annoyed with the sound effects in the third act, not watching the show because thunder crashed right behind my ear.
The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia? Isn’t for everyone. But I love the dark and macabre. Give me a Becket, Shepard, McDonough or Albee play any day, and I’ll smile. L.I.P. Service’s production takes Albee to a new level and should be on your list to see.
Lighting Design by Branson White
Sound Design by Danica Bergeron
Set Design by Jamie Kinser- Knight
Costume Design by JL Sunshine
Properties by George Meek
Through June 11, Thursday through Saturday nights
Rudy Seppy Studio
2333 W Rochelle Rd, Irving, TX 75062