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 The Theatreguide.London Review


Fool For Love
Apollo Theatre Summer 2006

Sam Shepard's very short play - barely 70 minutes without interval - is an intense portrait in intense passions.

In a seedy motel in the American desert a man and woman play out a complex love-hate relationship, unable to keep their hands off each other, whether to grope or punch, unable to live with or without each other.

Eventually we will learn some shocking things about their past, but plot is not what the play is about - raw animal energy is.

And only occasional hints of that energy are to be found in Lindsay Posner's new production, which repeatedly tells us the characters are feeling things we just don't witness for ourselves.

Martin Henderson is pretty good as the man, and Juliette Lewis adequate as the woman, but there is absolutely no chemistry between them, no sense whatever of actual passions behind their words. Even when they're clinching, or fighting, or kissing, or shouting, they seem to be just going through the motions of emotion.

It is not accidental that Henderson's strongest scene is a monologue in which Shepard's rough poetry carries him to an emotional level he doesn't approach in any of his scenes with Lewis, or that her best moments come when she is alone onstage and can silently act the woman's should-I-go-should-I-stay turmoil. Together, they're nothing, and that is all-but-fatal to the play.

Berkowitz's Law, which I've cited before: when everyone in a play is poor, and poor in the same ways, then the fault lies entirely with the director. Whether it's a matter of miscasting or just not guiding the actors to the heights of passion the play requires, Lindsay Posner simply seems to have missed the point.

Larry Lamb, as an old man who may or may not actually be there, and Joe Duttine, as an innocent bystander who wishes he wasn't there, provide solid support. But there's far too little there for them to support.


Gerald Berkowitz

 

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Review - Fool for Love - Apollo 2006