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Sam Shepard's Fool for Love at Found111

Published by: Carolin Kopplin on 1st Nov 2016 | View all blogs by Carolin Kopplin

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I get sick every time you come around, and then I get sick when you leave.

Following the successful shows The Dazzle, Bug, and Unfaithful, the final production in the unique space Found111 is Sam Shepard's dark play about relationships, identity, and abandonment. 

Set in a run-down motel room in the Mojave Desert, Fool for Love is the story of a couple who cannot live with or without each other. Eddie (Adam Rothenberg) is the son of an unaffectionate alcoholic father who had a long affair with another woman. Eddie has been repeating his father's mistakes by cheating on May (Lydia Wilson) and abandoning her whenever he felt like it. May has finally managed to start a new life when Eddie suddenly appears in her door, informing her that he has travelled 2,480 miles just to see her and expects her to move to Wyoming with him. May is still angry about Eddie's affair with "The Countess" as she calls the other woman and turns him down, informing him that she has a job, a new life, and is expecting her date. Yet when Eddie tries to leave, May holds him back. As they kiss passionately, she kicks him in the groin. Eddie tries to sway May's opinion of him by amusing her with lasso tricks and painting an idyllic picture of their life in Wyoming yet May remains unimpressed. When May's date Martin (Luke Neal) arrives, Eddie does his utmost to provoke him and to scare him away, trying to prove to May and to himself that he is her man.

The action is observed by an Old Man (Joe McGann) who exists only in the minds of May and Eddie, adding to the dreamlike quality of the play. The Old Man, converses with both May and Eddie and comments on their stories and actions. As the stories begin to contradict each other, one wonders which character is actually telling the truth.

Adam Rothenberg, who is making his London stage debut in Simon Evans' production, and Lydia Wilson - who was nominated for an Olivier award for her performance as Kate Middleton in Rupert Goold's King Charles III -, who performed together in the popular TV series "Ripper Street" are very good as the ill-fated couple living through a love-hate relationship. Joe McGann is excellent as the Old Man, a grisly, weathered cowboy with an affinity to Barbara Mandrell. Luke Neal convinces as Martin, a good-natured gardener who is drawn into the poisonous relationship.

The design by Ben Stones features a dreary motel room with black soil widening the space to the front and back. Although the set is fascinating, with touches of the wide open spaces in the West, it takes away a bit from the claustrophobic atmosphere that is so important to the play. 

An intense performance with an outstanding cast.

By Carolin Kopplin

Until 17 December 2016

Found111

111 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0DT

Box office: 020 7478 0100

Personal callers 

Mon-Sat 10am-6pm

Soho Theatre 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE

Running time: 60 minutes without an interval.

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