Fool for Love - Review

Sam Shepard’s play is at heart a love story but not a conventional one. It takes the audience on a roller coaster ride of high emotion and tension as the couple, Eddie and May, continue their love-hate relationship/battle in a seedy motel to where May has fled to escape her suffocating life in a trailer park. She is trying to start a new life and is awaiting the arrival of her date, Martin, when Eddie arrives after tracking her down. The couple are trapped in a cycle of cannot live with/without each other and one realises that what has taken place on stage is a continuation of previous encounters and will be repeated over and over again with only the location changing.

The reality of the piece is given an air of fantasy by having the ghostly figure of an old man seated on the side of the stage, not only commenting on the action but eventually being part of it. Adding to the atmosphere the play opened and closed with the unaccompanied singing of country and western songs by Hillary Harris standing alone on the side of the stage.

Serena Brand and Andy Costello were so successful in bringing to life this pair of trailer trash that they seemed to have stepped straight out of a Jerry Springer show. The writing enabled both players to give high-powered performances that reflected the mercurial temperaments of the two protagonists. Understated ones from the other two members of the cast complimented these performances. Mike Chowney captured beautifully the gentleness and bewilderment of Martin. He was a perfect foil to the slyness and menace of Eddie particularly in the scene between the two of them where Eddie plays control games with him. This scene gave Andy the wonderful acting opportunity to bring out the cunning side of the character and demonstrate that menace does not always have to be fiery but can also be subtly achieved through quietness. Dennis Evans developed well the character of the Old Man moving from a figure of mystery to an integral part of the story.

This is the second production this season where a directorial debut was made. This time it was Jerry Lyne’s and a fine debut it turned out to be. He captured the mood of the piece and obtained the all-important air of tension. Praise must be given to the technical team for some excellent effects particularly the reverberating echo that heightened the tension whenever a door slammed or a wall was hit.

Barrie Jerram