Ask Audrey Ask Audrey
Archived

Fool for Love

"a single act drama of shifting truths and feelings"

Audrey review: Sexual tension and volcanic emotion absent but humour partly fills the void.

Text size
Text size
Add to favourites

Fool for Love

Date: 6 Jan 2019

In a motel room on the edge of the Mojave Desert sits Eddie. May kneels at the bed, distraught.

Such is the introductory snapshot of Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love, a single act drama of shifting truths and feelings.

What has just occurred, we don’t know, though there’s a suggestion of post-coital angst in the air. What becomes apparent is that Eddie (played here by Lachlan Ruffy), has recently arrived, having driven clear across the country, and that he’s determined to reignite their relationship.

May (Kate Betcher), meanwhile, is expecting a visitor.

But wait, there’s more: Eddie and May are half-siblings, and Eddie – a rodeo stuntman – is being stalked by a vengeful “countess” in a black Mercedes.

Observing all this from outside the frame is May and Eddie’s father, a ghost-choric figure who likes to think he’s married to country music legend Barbara Mandrell.

Typically, we’ve come to expect that actors will go deep in Shepard, that they will tear themselves (and each other) to shreds. Not so here. Julie Baz’s production is a gentle one. Her actors stick to the shallows. Sexual tension and volcanic emotion is pretty much absent and the push me-pull you antics of Eddie and May’s relationship lacks vehemence and a sense of desperation. That said, the lightness of the treatment does create some space for humour.

Ruffy strikes as too soft a type to play a Shepardian male lead and no amount of man-spreading can convince us he’s the genuine Western article. He’s not much helped by costuming choices that are more Toy Story’s Sheriff Woody than bronco-bustin’ Malboro Man. And Eddie’s gun stays chastely in a bag, possibly because this production can’t stretch to showing something real enough.

Betcher, likewise, strikes as too unbruised a fruit to play May. Shepard’s script calls for a “tough drabness” in her character, which is something this bright-eyed ingénue has yet to find.

Joel Horwood is right on the money as May’s date Martin, a non-too-smart local struggling to comprehend what on earth he’s just walked in on. Neil McLeod is appropriately ‘ornery as The Old Man

Rather than create a $10 motel room ambience, David Jeffrey opts for an antique bed in a space fenced all around with wooden posts and slats. It’s an attempt to make the cowboy mythic aspect of the play more visible, I guess, but it lends the unhelpful look of a sheep pen to a production that doesn’t dig hard enough or deep enough into the world Shepard so eloquently describes.

Content
Aspects of Love
Add to favourites
ArchivedHayes Theatre Company, Potts Point, Sydney 22 Nov - 6 Jan 2019

Aspects of Love

Audrey review: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s plus-sized melodrama shrinks to fit chamber dimensions but emotional shallowness remains the show’s Achilles heel.

Nick Cave: Until
Add to favourites
ArchivedCarriageworks, Eveleigh, Sydney 23 Nov - 3 Mar 2019

Nick Cave: Until

Audrey review: American artist Nick Cave's monumental installation inspires wonder, promises change.

The Norman Conquests
Add to favourites
ArchivedEnsemble Theatre, Kirribilli, Sydney 19 Oct - 12 Jan 2019

The Norman Conquests

Audrey review: Bingeworthy comedy greater than the sum of its parts.

See More

More to see

View All
A Ghost in My Suitcase
Add to favourites
ArchivedSydney Opera House, Bennelong Point 9 - 19 Jan 2019

A Ghost in My Suitcase

Sydney Festival: Barking Gecko’s beguiling stage adaptation of Gabrielle Wang's novel follows 12-year-old Celeste to Shanghai.

Brett & Wendy: A Love Story Bound by Art
Add to favourites
ArchivedRiverside Theatres, Parramatta, Sydney 18 - 27 Jan 2019

Brett & Wendy: A Love Story Bound by Art

Sydney Festival: A deep dive into the world of the Whiteleys has theatre maker Kim Carpenter revisiting conflicted feelings about his own direction in art.

Herringbone
Add to favourites
ArchivedKings Cross Theatre, Kings Cross, Sydney 18 Jan - 2 Feb 2019

Herringbone

Jay James-Moody is Herringbone - and the ten characters living inside him. 

Intersection 2019: Arrival
Add to favourites
ArchivedStables Theatre, Kings Cross, Sydney 30 Jan - 16 Feb 2019

Intersection 2019: Arrival

Ten stories that speak to the experience of being 17-years-old in Australia, here and now.

Top