Jonathan Pryce will lead the cast in the British premiere of Edward Albee's The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?, which opens at London's Almeida Theatre on 3 February (previews 22 January) and continues to 13 March 2004 (See News, 8 Sep 2003).

Pryce will play Martin who, during the same week as celebrating his 50th birthday, receiving an international prize and being awarded a lucrative contract, is forced to confess to his wife and son that he's involved in a bestial relationship that will probably destroy his marriage, his career, and his life.

Earlier this year, Pryce returned to straight theatre, starring in A Reckoning (pictured, with Flora Montgomery) at London's 144-seat Soho Theatre, prior to which he was Olivier-nominated for Trevor Nunn's award-winning revival of My Fair Lady, first at the National and then the West End's 2,200-seat Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

In addition to My Fair Lady and his other musical roles in Miss Saigon and Oliver!, Pryce has previously appeared on the London stage in Uncle Vanya, The Seagull and numerous productions for the RSC. On film, his credits include Evita, Stigmata, Ronin, Carrington, The Age of Innocence, Glengarry Glen Ross, Jumping Jack Flash and The Pirates of the Caribbean, amongst many others.

In the cast of The Goat, Pryce will be joined by Matthew Marsh (whose recent stage credits include US and Them, Little Foxes, Conversations After a Burial and Copenhagen) as Ross and Kate Fahy as Stevie.

Winner of the Tony Award for Best Play, The Goat had its Broadway premiere in March 2002, when it starred Mercedes Ruehl and Bill Pullman. Its other prizes include New York Critics' Circle, Outer Critics' Circle and the Drama Desk Awards.

Edward Albee's first play, The Zoo Story, one of four one-act plays, was written in 1958. His 1962 modern classic about marital discord, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was revived at the Almeida in 1996. The production, directed by Howard Davies, moved to the West End's Aldwych Theatre following a sell-out run. In 1998 Davies directed for the Almeida the world premiere of Albee's The Play About the Baby which opened in Malvern prior to its Islington run. Albee's other work includes A Delicate Balance, Sea Scape and Three Tall Women, all of which were awarded Pulitzer Prizes.

The Goat will be directed by Anthony Page, former artistic director of the Royal Court (1964 to 1973), whose recent West End credits include The Master Builder, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Albee's A Delicate Balance. The new production will be designed by Hildegard Bechtler.

- by Terri Paddock