Fool For Love - Donmar 1996
The play from start to finish was really getting on my nerves. I don't quite know what Shephard was trying to say. The whole one and a half hour of this drama was taken up with these two arguing over how bad each other are and at the same time they kept banging doors and shouting very loud. While this was going on, their father in the background, sought of narrating, would come out with some daft comments. Then comes a man whom May has a date with, this makes Eddie jealous and we get more pointless dialogue.
Barry Lynch who plays Eddie and Lorraine Ashbourne who plays May try very hard to act in this drama, but sadly there really isn't any drama to act!
A lot of people must have known what the stories like, because The Donmar was half empty, and when you consider it's a very small theatre with only a couple of hundred seats, not many people were there.
This is Sam Sheppard's tale of May and Eddie, who have had a part time relationship for the last fifteen years, in fact since High School. This is the classic scenario of a couple who can't live together, and can't survive apart, however there are darker secrets which take the plot way beyond that.
Barry Lynch (Eddie) expressed alot of emotion and gave much depth to his character. One moment I believed he genuinely cared for May, and was remorseful for his behaviour over the years, the next that he was deliberately playing emotional games, and he was deriving all his pleasure from making the lives of others totally miserable. At times his eyes had the look of a psychological serial killer and he toyed with May's new boyfriend like a cat plays with a mouse prior to the kill. This was a calculated, and extremely polished performance.
May is feisty, determined but desperately in love. She resists Eddie's advances with words, with violence, with attempts to make him jealous, but it is apparent from the offset that it is herself she is trying to convince, not him. Deep down May knows that her being hurt again, is inevitable. This all came across in Lorraine Ashbourne's performance, she played the role with a passion, although at times I felt the agression was a little too strong.
Martin Marquez as May's boyfriend gave a very understated but absorbing performance as the slightly simple innocent who gets dragged into this emotional triangle, having no clue how to play these games. Gawn Grainger as the Old Man seemed to feel awkward in the early part of the piece, although he became more relaxed once able to escape from his perch, above the stage.
Robin Don's effective set creates the mood perfectly, the practically empty motel room, and the beautifully painted backdrop of the desolate terrain, with rich but dark colours.
Ian Brown, fresh from a successful eight years as Artistic Director at Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre makes an excellent start to his new career as a freelance director, I predict we will be hearing alot more of him.
(Jason L Belne)