Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Fool for Love"

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note: entire contents copyright 2003 by Beverly Creasey

Resonant "Fool"
at Industrial

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

Maria Brandt directs Sam Shepard’s volatile FOOL FOR LOVE with a hint of the surreal…so each time a door is slammed or a fist pounds the wall, the sound echoes like thunder, as if the gods had been disturbed. (Shepard’s plays reverberate with mythological taboos so why not hear the reverberation?) May and Eddie can’t stay together and they can’t stay apart. They seem unable to live their lives without “little tortures.” Eddie is a cowboy drawn to “hooch, the slammer and women” and May, try as she might, can’t find happiness without him. When May isn’t clinging to Eddie, she’s grabbing at the walls for support, as if fearing that if she lets go, they’ll come tumbling down.

Brandt moves Eddie and May around the stage as if she were choreographing a ballet or a bizarre mating dance. Even when an intruder arrives, Eddie slam dances him around Ivan Nieves’ marvelously seedy motel room. Looming at the corner of the stage is the figure of an old man, a memory of an absent father whose presence is so vivid that from time to time he interacts, even argues with the characters.

Ken Flott as Eddie, swaggers about the stage like a wild west version of a swashbuckler. He’s the quintessential lean cowboy loner, impressing May with his rope tricks and roughneck romance. It’s easy to see why May can’t get him out of her system. The chemistry between them is palpable. And in FOOL FOR LOVE, danger is an aphrodisiac. Jennifer Young as May is an edgy blend of craziness and helplessness and it’s clear that fate has erred in bringing them together. But it’s just as clear that fate cannot be altered.

Bill Doscher, as the father who never knew how to be one, even manages to gain a degree of sympathy…and Brian Platt as the unwitting intruder / fish-out-of-water is a hilarious foil for Eddie. Kudos to Tim Sawicki for the frightening headlights and to William Donnelly and Dave Poole for the chilling sound effects. Jodi Zanetti’s costumes fit each character perfectly, from Flott’s ragged straw cowboy hat to his worn, duct taped boots; from May’s rumpled jeans to her sexy red dress; and especially Platt’s nondescript shirt and dorky Dockers.

"Fool for Love" (25 April - 10 May)
Leverett Old Library Theatre, Mill Street, Harvard Square, CAMBRIDGE MA
1(617) 496-2222

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide