Outstanding new production of a classic
By Myron My
The tale of two lovers in a tumultuous relationship has been told time and time again, to the point it can be difficult to tell such a story in a way that will draw your audience in and leave them wanting more. It can also be daunting to do well when using Sam Shepard’s well-known play, Fool For Love. However, in Red Theatricals‘ new production, they manage to do all this and a whole lot more.
Presented by Q44 Theatre Company, it’s an exhilarating ride watching this dark tale unfold and this is mostly due to the performances of its two leads, Mark Davis and Rebecca Fortuna who are, quite frankly, phenomenal. They have truly captured their characters and the chemistry is electric in their scenes together.
Davis’ transformation into Eddie the cowboy stunt man is one of the best male performances I have seen so far this year: with the assured way he walks, the charming and sexy way he looks, to the masculine way he slings a lasso and cleans his gun, Davis make this character highly complex and intriguing. Through the course of the play’s evening, we come to understand that Eddie is always going to get what he wants no matter what, even when he’s not sure what that is; he is simultaneously our hero and our antagonist.
Similarly, Fortuna’s depiction of the strong yet fragile May is genuine and honest. Purely from the look in her eyes, you can sense her character is stuck in a situation she does not know how to get out of, and that it will eventually end up killing her, either metaphorically or literally. Fortuna allows her whole body and performance to be painfully taken over by May as events culminate on this tragic evening.
They are ably supported by Sam Allen as the ghost-like Old Man, who sits side of stage in his rocking chair, drinking his alcohol. Even though he’s not in the action, we can sense his presence and the hold he has over these two lovers. William Prescott rounds out the cast as Martin, the man that May feels like she needs to be with but may not be who she wants to be with. Prescott plays Martin well as the polar opposite of Eddie, and you could even go so far as to say he is an Edgar to Eddie’s Heathcliff.
While I question one or two directing decisions, Gabriella Rose-Carter effectively creates much action on stage while keeping in the claustrophobic confines of a small, seedy hotel room. Rose-Carter has managed to bring out raw and passionate performances from all the actors in this production, which is rare to see these days.
32 years after it was written, Fool For Love still packs a punch, with its themes of love, family and patriarchal society still relevant today. Red Theatricals not only do justice to the play but also manage to put its own unique touches to it. This powerful production is already a firm highlight of 2015 and should not be missed.