Broadway Baby

Glengarry Ross tickets

Set in a village in Syria, Liwaa Yazji’s Goats translated by Katherine Halls directs its focus on the struggles of a community devouring state controlled propaganda deep within the throes of civil war.

A story that deserves to be told, but is let down by lifeless performances

The Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs stage is fitted with flat screen televisions scattered around six coffins with flower wreaths and portraits of war heroes presented to the audience. A live-feed displayed across the screens is established by a camera-woman – used effectively throughout the play to highlight intimate moments between the actors, led by the morally questionable and patronising presenter (Sirine Saba). Abu Firas (Carlos Chahine) desperately heckles local politician Abu Al-Tayyib (Amer Hlehel) as he honours their fallen sons in a speech hailing them martyrs. Both Hlehel and Chahine continue to to threaten, intimidate and tiptoe around one another as the action unfolds, bringing the slogan questions of the play to a peak: “Has anyone ever told the truth? Has anyone ever demanded it? Does anyone want it? Does anyone even need it?”

Al-Tayyib rewards and honour the loss of each fallen soldier sacrificed to fight the “terrorists” by presenting their families with a goat in compensation. He ain’t kiddin’, six goats trot about the stage, butting in on the drama unfolding around them. Their playful innocence and sweet-natured cheekiness adding dynamics, rich symbolism and softness in the harshest of moments. A little distracting too!

It’s disheartening to admit that these frolicking goats are the true stars of the show. A 12-strong diverse cast is such a delight to see on stage, but overall the audience were subjected to lacklustre acting, obviously feigned passion, and empty, repetitive intonation. However, Souad Faress, Isabella Nefar, and Sirine Saba delivered three outstanding and sincerely powerful performances. Faress’ silent fury speaks louder than the words of others; as Imm Ghassan, a grieving mother who has sworn to never speak again until her son’s death has been avenged. Whenever she returns to the stage, she creates and bolsters a potent thickness in the air, a tension the play was miserably failing to sustain. Even the humming drone of the televisions or the occasional eerie bleat from a goat struggled to create a sense of atmosphere when so many actors were void of feeling and energy. Nefar played Zahra showing gentle determination as the pregnant wife of soldier Adnan. In the scene where Adnan returns to his mother Imm Ghassan and wife Zahra, we have what could have been the most effective scene of the play. Amir El-Masry endeavoured to be intimidating and desperate as the text suggested this soldier’s return should, but instead came across as insincere in his delivery, which shattered the audience investment.

Ultimately, Liwaa Yazji’s brings us a story that deserves to be told, but is let down by lifeless performances and a text translation by Katherine Halls moves between riveting and clunky throughout. See it for the story, it’s imagery, it’s insight into how a nation can be propagandised, and the goats. 


24th Nov 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
25th Nov 20172:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
25th Nov 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
27th Nov 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
28th Nov 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
29th Nov 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
30th Nov 20172:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
30th Nov 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
1st Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
2nd Dec 20172:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
2nd Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
4th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
5th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
6th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
7th Dec 20172:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
7th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
8th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
9th Dec 20172:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
9th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
11th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
12th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
13th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
14th Dec 20172:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
14th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
15th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
16th Dec 20172:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
16th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
18th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
19th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
20th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
21st Dec 20172:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
21st Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
22nd Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
23rd Dec 20172:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
23rd Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
25th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
26th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
27th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
28th Dec 20172:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
28th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
29th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
30th Dec 20172:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS
30th Dec 20177:30pmThe Royal Court Theatre
London GB SW1W 8AS

The Blurb

In a small town in Syria, soldiers are celebrated as heroes and grieving families are nourished on propaganda.

As the coffins pile up, the local party leader decides on a radical compensation scheme: a goat for each son martyred.

Goats is a major new work by Syrian playwright and documentary filmmaker Liwaa Yazji exploring the lies we choose to believe as a society, and the rippling effect when one man questions the ‘truth’.

It has been developed as part of the Royal Court’s long term project with writers from Syria and Lebanon. Royal Court Associate Director Hamish Pirie (Violence & Son, Who Cares, Teh Internet is Serious Business) directs.

Need More?

Website
Click Here


Save up to 60% on theatre tickets