Fool for Love

Theatre, Drama
2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

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Pop-up venue Found111 closes on a bummer with this miscast Sam Shepard classic

In case you hadn’t guessed, the title of Sam Shepard’s 1983 play is bitterly ironic. Eddie might have driven thousands of miles to find May in a desert motel, but he’s not really a romantic kinda guy. In director Simon Evans’s hands, Shepard’s lovesick chamber Western is packed even closer: four actors bicker and brood in a teeny-tiny motel room in pop-up venue Found111.

There's hardly room to swing a cat - so when Eddie tries to swing a lasso, he's in serious danger of landing a confused audience member instead of the bedpost he's aiming for. He’s doing his best to win back May’s affections after years apart, drawing on a twisted past they share.

It’s a slight piece that trades in tension and stifling atmosphere, but neither Evans’s production nor its central couple do much to provide it. The pristine Lydia Wilson is woefully miscast as alcoholic outcast May. She’s about as sultry as a malfunctioning aircon unit, sending icy blasts of air into the room. And Adam Rothenberg’s performance as this clumsy cowboy is consistently upstaged by Joe McGann, a mysterious presence who watches over the action like a ghostly Marlboro Man.

Eddie might spend a lot of time waving a shotgun around, but he never feels like a plausible threat. Post-Trump revelations, it feels weird complaining that a play doesn’t have enough sexual menace, but the story certainly doesn’t work without it.

Ben Stones’s design lends the production the odd noirish touch – the back of the stage is reserved for billows of haze and two jarringly fake-looking LED lamps representing a car's headlamps. The floor is strewn with earth, too, in a desperate bid for authenticity, but it's the only grit we're getting here.

By: Alice Savile

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