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Fool for Love review at Found111, London – ‘lacking in intensity’

Adam Rothenberg and Lydia Wilson in Fool for Love .Photo: Marc Brenner

The final production to be staged in Found111, Emily Dobbs’ pop-up venue at the former Central St Martin’s School of Art on Charing Cross Road, is another study of a claustrophobic relationship, like The Dazzle and Bug before it.

Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love, first performed in 1983 is part toxic love story, part exercise in American mythmaking. Adam Rothenberg and Lydia Wilson, both from the BBC’s Ripper Street, play a pair of lovers holed up in a desert motel room. Eddie is trying to convince May to come back with him to Wyoming, but she insists she’s trying to start a new life – one without him.

Their relationship is supposed to be feverish and volatile, something that neither of them can ever entirely quit, but there’s very little sense of that in Rothenberg and Wilson’s serviceable but unexciting performances.

They’re frequently eclipsed by the two supporting performances. Joe McGann is brilliantly grizzled as the enigmatic old cowboy watching over them and Luke Neal has a decent sense of comic timing and an amiable delivery as May’s gentleman caller, but Simon Evans’ unconvincing production doesn’t make the most of the potential for intimacy of the space.

Ben Stones’ design is reasonably atmospheric. He’s coated the floor in earth, and having also designed the far more gripping Bug, he knows how to evoke a seedy American motel room. But despite the fact that that the actors are all but treading on the toes of the front row at times, the production is lacking in intensity and anything resembling carnal heat; it’s saying something when Rothenberg’s alarmingly wayward lasso generates the majority of the dramatic tension.

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Tepid Sam Shepard revival performed in an unforgiving found space