Howling comedy at the Stables

A howlingly funny comedy about the complex relationship between a man and his dog opens at The Stables Theatre tonight March 11.

Friday, 11th March 2016, 9:41 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 9:49 pm
Sylvia at The Stables Theatre
Sylvia at The Stables Theatre

Sylvia, by AR Gurney, looks at the complexities of love and commitment asks what it truly means to be devoted to your partner ...and how do you choose between the love of your life and man’s best friend?

Empty nesters Greg and Kate have moved back to Manhattan after twenty-two years in the suburbs. As Kate tells Greg: “The dog phase of my life is definitely over.”

But life has a way of giving you what you think you don’t want. Greg finds Sylvia, a street-smart lab/poodle mix, and brings her home. She promptly becomes a bone of contention between Greg and Kate, testing their marriage to hilarious and touching effect.

Director Matt Turpin said: “So why do we talk to animals, and do they really understand any of what we are saying? There’s no doubt that some animals can learn to understand some of what we say to them — look at Chaser the border collie who’s been scientifically shown to know over a thousand words. But that’s not what’s going on when most of us talk to our pets. A friend of mine used to chat away to her cat despite the fact that it was profoundly deaf. My son converses with his gerbils on a regular basis, and I must admit to having the occasional ‘exchange’ of words with our hamster.

“This play will appeal to anyone who has owned a dog, loved a dog, or known anyone who treats a dog like a person. The genius of the play is that Sylvia concentrates just as much on what our actions and feelings as humans mean to dogs as they do to us. The dialogue is sharp and there are occasional moments of tenderness as well as hilarity. The play centres on a dog, but is really about humanity, exploring how we often need an inhuman thing to make us feel human.”

Sylvia runs from Friday 11 to Saturday 19 March at 7.30pm. Matinee Sunday March 13 at 3pm. Please note: although this play contains some strong language, the Sunday matinee will be the author’s own family-friendly version! No performance Monday. Adults £13, under-18s and groups £10, members £8. Visit or call 01424 423221.