Fool For Love is an enigmatic play that puzzles as much as it entertains. It requires some work by the audience to be fully appreciated. The production and acting is polished and engaging.
See the woman on that wall? She’s mine….she’s mine forever.
Emily Dobbs found a near derelict building in Soho and turned it into a theatre, a pop- up site-specific environment to house exciting productions of new and classic texts. Found111 is a perfect venue for this production of Fool For Love.
It’s a story about love and loathing and letting go, and the intimacy of the space is apparent. Fool For Love, a finalist for the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, is associated with many awards for writing and for the actors who have performed it. Written by celebrated American author Sam Shepherd, it premiered in 1983 in San Francisco and already has a long history with the UK. Watching the current production at Found111, it’s easy to see the reasons for its success.
The narrative is on a universal theme: love gone wrong but impossible to live without. So the audience has a pre-disposition to be connected. It’s comfortably familiar but with enough twists and turns to ensure sustained engagement. The facts are like jewels hidden amongst the words and are only revealed piecemeal – never fully ascertained.
The unique shape of Found111 is bent by designer Ben Stones to its best advantage, with some of the finest use of the space since this pop-up venture began. The set flows from the present and reality, through space and into the abstract. A hotel room carved out of earth and time. Whenever there is friction within the narrative where a door slams or a voice is raised, the lighting reacts to punctuate the moment and is echoed by a change in sound quality.
Elliott Griggs has provided a magical lighting design. Apart from the punctuation associated with noise, there are also some wonderful moments with the use of backlighting. One scene is played with the actors in silhouette, in near darkness. Delicious.
Leading this production team with style and skill is director Simon Evans and in the lead roles of Eddie and May he has chosen two excellent actors.
Adam Rothenberg is making his London stage debut after much success elsewhere. In his portrayal of a very passionate man, Rothenberg brings strength and charisma to the character and reaches out to hold the audience in his spell. Lydia Wilson plays May, his lover. May proves equal in power to the man in every way. The chemistry between the pair is almost tangible.
The role of Old Man is played by Joe McGann. His performance is one of the jewels discovered during the course of the play. McGann appears as a mentor, if not spectre, of the younger Eddie. Just how he comes to be in the hotel room at all remains a mystery, but the narrative would not be the same without him. It’s an artistic device that serves to embellish the bones of the story. McGann is fascinating and his physical presence demands attention.
Luke Neal enters the play towards the end ,as Martin, the current potential lover of May. His character is whimsical but often seems lost as to his place in the drama that unfolds in front of him. Neal plays this apparently simple man deftly, with many layers to the character. It’s a fine piece of acting.
Fool For Love is one of those productions where all the elements are excellent and all combine into a blissful single entity. This is the last production at Found111 and the next home for this pop-up company is eagerly awaited.