BWW Review: Landing Theatre Company Lands FOOL FOR LOVE
The Landing Theatre Company has a new venue! And they're excited to pick up their 2015-2016 season in their new home with FOOL FOR LOVE, by prominent American playwright Sam Shepard. The play circles around Eddie (Blake Weir) and May (Josephine Ganner), two ex-lovers who, like revolving magnets, are drawn together and continuously repelled by a force they cannot control. They are unable to escape their destructive cycle of loving and leaving each other, constantly reminded of their shameful history and their downfalls by the Old Man (Ken Watkins). Martin (Zac Kelty) is an innocent witness in their tumultuous world.
From the moment Eddie uttered the first word, the show took off like a racehorse, quick and unyielding. The actors sustained an undulating amount of energy throughout the entire show. The cast was superbly complimentary, and the flow of the story telling was never once dropped or interrupted. Shepard's scripts are always heavy with subtext, and under the direction of Brandon Weinbrenner, the actors displayed beautifully smooth emotional transitions. Ganner and Weir were exceptional in sustaining a constant bubbling of emotion behind every word.
Ganner's portrayal of May was excellent. Her worn expressions and her gleaming eyes radiated the pain that comes from being so broken and heavily drunk in love; she was raw and heavy with visceral desperation. At times her back-and-forth with Eddie were slow and haunting, at others wild and vicious. The tension between the two, whether it manifested from lust or resentment, was palpable. Weir held a steady balance between patience and aggression for May, occasionally touching on moments of vulnerability with a fine tenderness. His alpha-male dominance in contrast to Kelty's goofy Martin was enjoyable to watch. Eddie's humor was in his words, whereas Martin's was in his body. Kelty's wide-eyed confusion mixed with his simple delivery of obliviousness was brilliantly funny, and there was never a problem of him upstaging Ganner or Weir. Kelty's performance blended so well with the seriousness between Eddie and May that it was like cutting their tension with the delicacy of a fine wire. Meanwhile, Watkin's portrayal of the Old Man, with his slow and steady pace and the aged vibrato in his voice, was strikingly evocative as he floated in and out of the dreamscape.
The set design was beautifully - or rather, "unpleasantly" - realistic. The neglect of the seedy motel room is so apparent in the walls that the odor of dust and mold is expected. The overall lighting was warm; it was seamless in its poignant blending of reality and memories; and its portrayal of the parking lot right outside the motel window was impressive.
FOOL FOR LOVE is raw and relentless. With its brilliant cast, direction, and design delivering plenty of striking imagery in its intimate space, their performance is guaranteed to stick with you. Many congratulations to the Landing Theatre Company with this outstanding production and on the opening of their new space.
FOOL FOR LOVE runs through April 16 at 8:00 pm Thursday - Saturday, with Saturday Matinees at 3:00 pm; Industry night is April 11; at The Landing Theatre @ the Docks, 1119 East Freeway (Providence Street). Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can ($25 suggested). For more information, please (562) 502-7469 or visit www.landingtheatre.org.
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From This Author Mai Le