The Girl and The Goat

As I left the Warren after viewing The Girl and the Goat, all that was running through my head was ‘who on Earth thought that was a good idea?’ The awkward hitting together of hands at the end of the show – an act one would usually call applause but for some reason I can’t apply that word in this case – signified that I probably wasn’t alone in this.

The Girl and the Goat had two saving graces. One was the ingenious sound production, the other being the relative talents of a few of the cast.

It was a tale that took itself entirely too seriously. It was heaped in melodramatic acting from the very start and tried to create a whimsical, rural, and peculiarly dated setting. I think this setting was mainly established from the two women – who both play young girls – skipping everywhere whilst singing songs about picking fruit. I can think of more productive ways to travel. The story involved a young girl’s sexual relationship with some sort of spirit goat, who she then becomes pregnant by – cue lots of stomach gesturing. She then gets sold to a creepy neighbour with an entirely unrelated Italian accent; he tries to rape her and then gets killed by the previously mentioned spirit goat. Girl grows wings and hisses at her sister for a while, before running off to join goat-lover in the forest. The whole show was a bizarre concept that, whilst seeming utterly pointless, could have been saved if it wasn’t for the hammy acting and delusional pretentions. The characters were far too two-dimensional to claim any hidden depth in the piece, and lots of the movement – notably that involving the family and the neighbour – seemed gratuitous, clumsy and unnecessary.

The Girl and the Goat had two saving graces. One was the ingenious sound production, the other being the relative talents of a few of the cast. The sound effects were produced onstage, visibly, by a man crouched down amid an array of objects, all with individual microphones. For the scenes in the forest, he crunched leaves to product a walking effect. He moved his hand through water when the characters were washing themselves in the pool. These on-stage produced sound effects added a startling depth to a piece that would otherwise have had little to offer.

It would seem a shame to end this review without applauding the unfortunate performers, some of whom appeared to have genuine talent. Téo Ghil, who played the Father, had an impressive resonance to his voice and was rather wasted in a bland role. James Riccetto (the goat) and Elizabeth Johnson (Faye) were both obviously talented physical theatre artists and they remained aesthetically strong throughout the movement parts of the piece, however Johnson was let down by her acting – pouting, sighing and skipping not being the only elements to the character of a sexually awakened young girl.

Overall, this was an unenjoyable and shallow piece that did not work within the context of the story. It took itself too seriously and alluded to hidden depths of character that it simply did not have. It was occasionally revived by a beautifully constructed piece of physical theatre, usually involving the goat, however this aesthetic value was not enough to render this a piece worth seeing.

Reviews by Corinne O'Sullivan

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The Blurb

A girl torn between worlds. Raw nature, sexuality and social expectation. An effusion of song, imagery and poetic movement. In the Ashdown Forest, we follow Faye as she weaves between her family & the mysteries of the woods! A devised physical theatre play exploring sexuality and the edges between imagination and reality. Faye discovers mysteries of nature and her body, meeting fantastical characters. Are they real? What is real?

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