Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Review Fool For Love

Fool For Love
by Sam Shepherd

Looking For Mr Right

It's a final trip up the stairs to see a play at found 111i n the former Central St Martin's School School of Art. The theatre company is now bidding farewell to its grunge venue and seeking another site-specific space after its successful sojourn on Charing Cross Road.

In the meantime, it's back to familiar Sam Shepard territory, a motel room in California's Mojave Desert where May (Lydia Wilson) and Eddie (Adam Rothenberg) brawl and tear themselves apart.

Eddie has tracked down May, driving over a thousand miles, he says, to pluck her up and take her to a piece of land he has bought in Wyoming where he plans to raise horses, chickens and make a place for May.

But he finds May, who maintains she has now reinvented herself as a good citizen, gained a job and a beau, more than reluctant to drop everything and drive back with him in his horse truck.

All the while, a lanky, grizzled Marlboro Man spectre (Joe McGann) watches over the pair while into the secrets, lies and battles comes the unsuspecting gentle Martin (Luke Neal) who is wooing May. 

A two-level thrust stage designed by Ben Stones works on two levels, on low stilts at the back is the run-down motel room with its door smeared with grime.

Then in front a gravelly front yard reaches out to the audience in this initimate venue. Angular neon lights and fairy lights also flash and flicker within the physical and psychic space.

It's a curious self-conscious piece which mixes the hardscrabble life of near-trailer trash folks with the language of the movie business. As May, Wilson brings a taut, stubborn fragility, struggling to free herself from the emotional lassoo pulling her towards tequila-drinking Eddie, away from Martin.

These are characters, apart from Martin, who are all physically and mentally in their own self-contained space yet affecting each other's lives. This double perspective doesn't always catch fire in Simon Evans' production, even if the individual performances remain strong with a strain of dark humour.

A quick passing one-act drama, the laconic play shoots its arrow and lands in just over an hour. The clanging, slamming door soundscape (sound design by Edward Lewis) takes us inside the characters as much as their words and actions.

A final stunning image with lighting by Elliot Griggs merges the movies and the itinerant world of these abandoned souls. With its lingering thin, whip sharp quality, this Fool For Love ultimately finds an elemental power. It's an amber/green light from your own bareback theatre reviewing TLT and her trusty steed.

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