Wednesday, 4 May 2005

Fool for Love by Sam Shepard, May 4, 2005

Fool for Love by Sam Shepard
 Trades Hall, Council Chambers  May4 to 2, 2005
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Fool for Love is a superbly crafted short play. The narrative unfolds seamlessly, the characters are compelling and the denouement shocking.

Sam Shepard's play is set in a Southern US desert state. In an isolated motel, May, (Karen Day) a young woman working as a cook, is reunited with Eddie, (Joe Clements) a rodeo cowboy she knows form high school.

There past and the nature of their relationship is mysterious but obviously fraught with rage and intimate secrets.

Into this tightly wound situation between Eddie and May comes poor, gormless Martin, (Peter Heward) May's doting date for the evening. The progressively drunker and wilder Eddie taunts Martin with outrageous stories  of Eddie's past with May.

This is witnessed by an old man (Bruce Kerr) seated in a rocking chair on the verandah and swigging whisky. At first he appears to be unseen and later he is a ghost from the past.

Fool for Love is a passionate, menacing play built around a dysfunctional relationship.

Clements is a potent presence, making Eddie primitive and threatening, a raw, violent cowboy with no hidden heart of gold. He gives Eddie an animal energy, both repellent and sexual.

As the overwhelmed and desperate May, Day moves between powerless victim one minute and screaming harpy the next.

The balance of power between the pair shifts constantly and the stage is a dangerous and sexy place.

As the hapless Martin, Heward is absolutely credible and Kerr is a potent counterpoint and commentator as the old man.

Gorken Acaroglu (OK) directs the play with a firm hand, keeping the pace rapid, the energy high and the passion turned up to full.

At times, in the first half, there is too much shouting and the performance is too much on one note, but the second half find a more balanced level of impassioned performance.

Shepard is relentless, grim, rich in imagery of the dusty heat of the remote desert and this production a fine example of his style.

By Kate Herbert

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