Fool For Love
Closed 1h 15m
Fool For Love
71

Fool For Love NYC Reviews and Tickets

71%
(174 Reviews)
Positive
62%
Mixed
25%
Negative
13%
Members say
Great acting, Intense, Absorbing, Disappointing, Overrated

About the Show

Manhattan Theatre Club presents Sam Shepard's classic play, starring Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda; former lovers holed up in a seedy motel unpack deep, dark secrets and desires of their tangled relationship.

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Member Reviews (174)

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50
Disappointing, Edgy, Insipid, Intense, Overrated

See it if you love Sam Shepard. I found the script insipid and horrifying. I didn't enjoy the performances. FFL was a miss for me.

Don't see it if you want intelligent, insightful, engaging theater. Shocking plot for its own sake. Ugh.

40
Indulgent, Insipid, Overrated, Disappointing, Dated

See it if you have a subscription to MTC

Don't see it if you like well acted, relevant plays.

Critic Reviews (58)

The New York Times
October 8th, 2015

"Love as a battlefield on which nobody wins has seldom been mapped as thrillingly as it is in Daniel Aukin’s definitive revival of this bruising drama. Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell exude the sort of chemistry from which nuclear meltdowns are made. Every ingredient that’s gone into this offering has been measured, sifted and distilled to create the most potent combination conceivable. When I saw an earlier version of this production, I figured it couldn’t get much better. I was wrong."
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Time Out New York
October 8th, 2015

"Daniel Aukin’s painterly diorama production benefits from key support from a fine Tom Pelphrey as May’s bemused beau and Gordon Joseph Weiss as a spectral old-timer who may have fathered both fractious lovers (there’s a whisper of Greek tragedy amidst the tumbleweeds). But it’s Rockwell and Arianda who most strike the sparks, blow on the embers and get the fire raging."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
October 8th, 2015

"When the withholding and revelation are handled as adroitly as they are in Daniel Aukin’s terrific staging, 'Fool for Love' acquires the force of Greek tragedy...The production, already excellent when presented at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, has only improved. Physically, it is just about perfect."
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The Hollywood Reporter
October 8th, 2015

"Aukin and his actors hit all the right beats, punctuating the sexually charged action with the loud slamming of doors and bodies. But the heat only occasionally rises above a simmer, and despite all the tequila being gulped onstage, the whole thing feels a tad too correct."
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Entertainment Weekly
October 8th, 2015

"The slamming, which produces a stereo boom you can feel in your organs, eventually becomes rote and numbing. As does much else in this staunch, uninvolving production, which features tempestuous performers in Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell, but offers them not much more than glum platitudes on bad romance...The feeling nags that this was a production simply too small for Broadway. "
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Variety
October 8th, 2015

" This may not be the definitive production of this iconic play, but director Daniel Aukin has done a thoroughly professional job...And if laid-back Rockwell and body-conscious Arianda don’t quite have their acts together, Shepard is served well enough to satisfy his fan base."
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The Wall Street Journal
October 8th, 2015

"Ms. Arianda has returned to Broadway in 'Fool for Love.' It is fully worthy of her gifts, and the results are—almost literally—explosive. I wish Arianda had worked harder on her accent, but that doesn’t matter too much: Every other part of her performance is scaldingly, unimpeachably real...The explosion occurs offstage shortly before the end of the play, and even if you know 'Fool for Love' going in, I guarantee it’ll take you by surprise. That’s how good this revival is."
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Deadline
October 16th, 2015

"The two stars are superb in Daniel Aukin’s straightforward production but I still think that they’re acting in different shows. They throw off plenty of heat — but not at each other, and that’s fatal to a play that insists we believe in the intensity of the relationship."
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Los Angeles Times
October 8th, 2015

"Daniel Aukin's production is sensationally acted...Arianda vividly embodies the conflict between May's sensuality and shame...But the revelation for me was Rockwell, who sheds new light on Eddie...The nonrealistic elements of the production are a tad too italicized here."
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New York Daily News
October 8th, 2015

"Rockwell delivers the goods — and so does costar Nina Arianda — in Broadway’s combustible revival of 'Fool for Love...' Daniel Aukin directs a well-paced production and guides the cast to juicy performances."
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AM New York
October 8th, 2015

"The thin 70-minute drama is essentially an unsettling character study with a sense of mystery behind it. Daniel Aukin's focused, highly physical revival is built around the intense interplay between Arianda, who evokes both a hurt young girl and a torrent of violent emotion, and Rockwell, who coolly struts around and cockily plays with his lasso as if he were the Marlboro Man."
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NY1
October 8th, 2015

"When 'Fool for Love' opened 32 years ago, it sent shock waves through the theatre community...In the current revival, the impact is decidedly less arresting...Amid all that sound and fury, there is not much in this play that resonates beyond some stylish writing and a chance for a quartet of fine actors to strut their stuff."
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Theatermania
October 8th, 2015

"Spare and evocative new production...MTC should be applauded for producing this challenging work in such a primo venue, but one suspects that the eerie experiential effect would be even greater in a more intimate space. Here's hoping for an immersive 'Fool for Love' in our future."
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Lighting & Sound America
October 9th, 2015

"Under Daniel Aukin's pinpoint direction, Arianda and Rockwell so fully inhabit their characters that we can easily believe that we are spying on a pair of lovers whose long-running and highly destructive affair is in its endgame...It's surprising that it has taken more than 30 years for 'Fool for Love' to get a first-class New York revival, but this excellent company was well worth the wait. In their hands, this looks to be Shepard's masterpiece, his work most likely to stand the test of time."
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Talkin' Broadway
October 8th, 2015

"By the end you may have forgotten what genuine, all-encompassing heat actually feels like on the skin and in the blood. For a play whose entire raison d'être is exploring the vital but vicious codependence that can form between two people when they're thrust together under less-than-ideal circumstances, this is something of an impediment...At its heart, this production is irredeemably nice, perhaps the most devastating quality for any 'Fool for Love.'
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TheaterScene.net
October 13th, 2015

"Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell have each demonstrated during their careers that they are fine actors but in this weak revival they both lack the innate charisma to fully succeed at their roles...This is the fault of the director...'Fool for Love’s tantalizing passion is captured in this alluring image and that quality is woefully absent in this adequate and lackluster revival."
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Theatre is Easy
October 12th, 2015

"A raw, unhealthy look at love from esteemed playwright Sam Shepard, revived by actors who breathe life into the script...This flawless rendition of 'Fool for Love' has a je ne sais quoi about it...Underlying issues and serious thinking still hit home in the midst of jokes that made me smile. Laugh or cry? I didn't know what to do as I left the theatre in awe."
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Theater Pizzazz
October 12th, 2015

"Eddie, a well chosen Rockwell, thoroughly understands and connects to all the deeper emotional turmoil...Arianda looks great and appears desperate but seems a bit divested as May...The excruciating, intense story is directed by Daniel Aukin who keeps the all star cast moving vigorously."
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CurtainUp
October 9th, 2015

"There's no question that it's got a Broadway worthy cast and production. Shepard's view of the American family for maximum humor, physicality, and sadness holds up remarkably well...The 75-minutes bristle with symbolism, physicality and suspense."
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Stage Buddy
October 8th, 2015

"'Fool for Love' feels, frankly, like a long one-act play...The principal reason to see this play is the performances of Rockwell and Arianda. Both give fine turns, and their teamwork is strong...Weiss and Pelphrey also do admirable work, but there’s nothing, it seems, that the cast or director Aukin can do to bring to bring a full plate of grits-and-gravy to Shepard’s lean table."
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Exeunt Magazine
October 12th, 2015

"There’s a heavy-handed expediency to these scenes, of narrative positioning. The speeches flesh out the characters but weigh down the production, dissipating the angry energy...But it all snaps back into focus with a kiss...It’s a powerful moment in a production that successfully frames the scorching embrace of passion and hate that underpins the play like a distorted family photo."
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T
October 8th, 2015

"Under Daniel Aukin’s slightly revisionist but extraordinarily meticulous direction, Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda capture the angst and desperation of their characters and bring their struggle to separate and individuate to a cathartic frenzy that make a deep and lasting impression on the audience...'Fool for Love' is a must see."
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New York Theater
October 18th, 2015

"'Fool for Love' struck me as little more than an impressive acting exercise and the theatrical equivalent of a low-budget action flick. It’s an eye-catching trailer trash tango. Yes, there is skill in Shepard’s writing, and solid talent in the four-member cast. But did it add up to depth and brilliance? Not for me."
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C
November 17th, 2015

"The needed sense of claustrophobia and intensity is lost. We have to be 'in' the room with quarreling lovers May and Eddie, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. Here, in Daniel Aukin’s somewhat misguided production we’re merely watching them from a safe distance...The near-Amazonian Arianda simply exhibits too much strength – and not enough vulnerability – thereby lowering the stakes of this battle of the heart."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
October 8th, 2015

"The play seems somewhat diminished in a Broadway theatre...Rockwell’s diverse film roles have long demonstrated his chameleon-like versatility; he captures Eddie’s Marlboro Man machismo with conviction...Arianda’s May is wound up ready to burst open at any minute. With her abundant blonde mane and her lanky frame and skyscraper legs set off by a skintight red minidress she makes an indelible impression."
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Times Square Chronicles
October 12th, 2015

"This production is a nonstop punch at how souls become dysfunctional through no fault of their own. Drawn like moths to a flame, Eddie and May are stuck in a circular hell that as long as they live, will play out the same scenario until one dies...Daniel Aukin’s direction could not be more perfect...Could this play be up for Best Play?"
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The Guardian (UK)
October 8th, 2015

"Until its brilliant final 15 minutes, Aukin’s production doesn’t have that magnetic force. Arianda is vital and absorbing, Rockwell is easy in his body and forceful in his affect...But they often seem to be marking time...It isn’t until that final fight and kiss and conflagration that the play faces up to the fervour at its core."
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The Huffington Post
October 8th, 2015

"Nothing that ensued changed my ho-hum attitude towards the script...For patrons the effort put into making sense of events may not be worth it. What does go a fair stretch towards rendering the expended efforts rewarding are the performances. It may be that the lure for actors explains the frequent 'Fool for Love' sightings. Indeed, it may be that Shepard's demanding work-out is more entertaining for the performers who get to take on Eddie and May than it is for anyone who gets to watch them."
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B
October 7th, 2015

"Arianda and Weiss are fine. Although Rockwell certainly aced his lasso lessons, I wish he displayed more of the charisma that would explain his hold over May. The big secret seemed more like a plot contrivance than an organic development...The initial scenes seemed a bit slack, but director Daniel Aukin picks up the pace as the play progresses. I wish I had found it more involving. Running time: 70 minutes, no intermission. It seemed longer."
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The Wrap
October 8th, 2015

"Under Daniel Aukin’s very lopsided direction, you’ll be looking at Nina Arianda...Imagine the cartoon character Olive Oyl as a baritone in a red tube dress and you’ve got Arianda’s May... With Arianda offstage, it’s possible to notice Rockwell and Pelphrey, and to see that they’re embodying their respective characters with understated grace... Aukin changes the color of the lighting and amplifies Arianda’s voice through an echo chamber. It’s not only actors who can upstage actors."
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New York Theatre Guide
October 8th, 2015

"This postmodern absurdist period piece, impeccably staged by director Daniel Aukin, provides the kind of thrill you get from watching a well-executed building demolition. We see each explosive put into place, each timer set, so that when the inevitable implosion finally occurs, you marvel at the controlled devastation."
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USA Today
October 8th, 2015

"The stage directions for Sam Shepard's 1983 play state that it 'should be performed relentlessly, without a break.' And for 75 minutes, director Daniel Aukin and his flawless cast, led by a riveting Nina Arianda and a fiercely unsettling Sam Rockwell, deliver, never allowing themselves or the audience an uncharged moment...The bonds of blood and lust are deep, 'Fool for Love' reminds us."
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Newsday
October 8th, 2015

"There isn't the down-and-dirty chemistry that makes the fate of the lovers' long and conflicted relationship feel inevitable and dangerous. They seem more like beautiful roughhousing puppies than people caught in the push/pull torrents of a forbidden relationship...The violence feels phony and it's hard to get overheated about the fate of the characters."
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The Huffington Post
October 10th, 2015

"Director Daniel Aukin has molded the cast into an excellent ensemble: his two leads are marvelous. The tech elements were also strong...But the play? Today it fails to shock. And once that twist was made clear, the play became less and less compelling."
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NorthJersey.com
October 9th, 2015

"With a running time of just 75 minutes, 'Fool for Love' is a play you anticipate will proceed in a head-long rush. The revival, under the direction of Daniel Aukin, moves at a more measured pace, which is not to the work’s advantage."
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WNBC
October 8th, 2015

"'Fool for Love' is classic Shepard: Family dysfunction, a Western setting and some dark and twisted stuff leading up to a big reveal (or two). It’s all handled with an enormous amount of skill and affection -- the 75 minutes fly by, and we feel as if we know these folks intimately."
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DC Metro Theater Arts
October 13th, 2015

"'Fool for Love' is a bright example of Sam Shepard at his best, and if you’re not familiar with his work, this production is a ‘must-see.’ If you do already know and admire him, you won’t be disappointed in this rendering with a first-rate cast, produced and directed by Daniel Aukin, who has all of it under control. You can feel the heat in this cabin, you can see the dust rise as tempers flare, and the battle rages."
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NJ.com
October 8th, 2015

"Rockwell is the best reason, but hardly the only one, to see this revival...The director strikes just the right notes of urgency and uncertainty; even if you've seen 'Fool for Love' before, you feel as if you have no idea what's coming next. The play builds, thrillingly, to an off-stage fire that bathes the set in a warm red glow — and, indeed, if ever a production deserved the adjective 'combustible,' it's this one."
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Manhattan Digest
October 16th, 2015

"We know these tarts-Eddie and May-because at some point in our lives, we have been these tarts—perhaps not to their degree of volatility, but we have foolishly stayed with the toxic lover who is obviously wrong for us but too intoxicating to leave. Manhattan Theater Club’s production is simmering and sultry thanks to this fine cast whose only addiction is a commitment to quality acting."
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StageZine
October 12th, 2015

"Daniel Aukin directs his cast with a firm hand, but unfortunately the problem here is not the acting or the direction; it is the vastness of the stage. Although it is admirable to have a Shepard play presented on Broadway, the play has very strict confines in its parameters...The expanse of the Friedman stage, or for that matter any Broadway theater stage, makes it lose its claustrophobic sensibility and, in the process, that desperate tension that is so essential to this play is lost."
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Z
October 9th, 2015

"Rockwell brings layers of pain and anger and vulnerability to a role that could easily be paper thin in less capable hands. Arianda is nearly his equal, but maybe because playwright Sam Shepherd gets men like Eddie better than he gets a woman like May, she’s standing in Rockwell’s shadow for most of the evening. And what an evening it is. Eddie and May thunder and bellow, fight and kiss in equally violent measure...Either way, love hurts."
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The Huffington Post
October 11th, 2015

"For a tight 90 minutes, they go at each other in a spare, grim motel room in Nowheresville, the Mojave Desert's edge. From Eddie's first words: 'I'm not leaving,' you are in the play's intense grip, pondering: who are these people?"
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As Her World Turns
November 9th, 2015

"I was really excited to see these two actors — Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell — in what appeared to be an intimate, tumultuous play. But I found it dreadfully mediocre, and even boring despite its mere 75-minute running time...I still walked out disappointed that I’d picked 'Fool for Love' as my return to theater-going after two months away...To this production’s credit, the NYT gave it a glowing review. We’ll agree to disagree."
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Philadelphia Inquirer
October 8th, 2015

"The pace seems much too measured, not even remotely relentless since much of the danger has been choreographed out of it...The play has been kept at a distance—literally and figuratively- from the audience...A big Broadway house may not be the right venue for this intensely intimate play."
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Show Showdown
October 9th, 2015

"It's a testament to Shepard's skill that so much of the play can still feel genuinely shocking 35 years after it premiered. With this phenomenal production, 'Fool For Love' rightfully takes its place as one of the most important American plays of its generation."
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BritishTheatre.com
October 9th, 2015

"The stage reeks, throbs, pulses and radiates profound sensual, sexual energy. There is a lust at play here which is both compelling and frightening...It’s about 80 minutes of unrelenting, brutal, sexually charged theatrical urgency...Intoxicating is precisely the correct word...This is extraordinary, intensely erotic theatre. Unmissable."
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Village Voice
October 13th, 2015

"Despite its desert setting, the first Broadway staging of Sam Shepard's 'Fool for Love' doesn't give off much heat. And that's a problem, because the 1983 play about an incendiary forbidden passion depends on credible pyrotechnics between its tormented twosome... Aukin's production gets queasy whenever Shepard's text reaches outside realism's limits...Fools for realism, these lovers never make it outside the motel room and into the vast night beyond."
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Broadway Showbiz
October 11th, 2015

"Sam Shepard has an edgy, gritty, rough and raw style that appeals to me. His plays are always about dysfunctional relationships and families. This is his best production since 'Curse of The Starving Class' which was about 20 years ago. His plays are seductive, raw, heart wrenching...While this show might be too raw for many tourists, I found the acting and play riveting. If you’re a Shepard fan, you are in for a treat!"
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NY Theatre Guide
October 13th, 2015

"'Fool for Love' features gripping performances, along with a minimalistic set design that knows just how to punctuate the most intense moments with brilliant sound and lighting. If you’re a theatergoer who loves commanding performances focusing on complex characters, this is your play."
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TheaterScene.com
October 24th, 2015

"Now enlarged to a much larger Broadway venue with a pitch perfect seedy motel set it still stings, but its bite is much tamer now...Verbal rants and emotional spasms turn physical at key moments with these two brave actors banging and throwing each other around with furious abandon. Director Daniel Aukin perfectly calibrates the rollercoaster verbal rhythms of the work. Both Ms. Arianda and Mr. Rockwell find the core of their characters and play off each other beautifully."
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Center on the Aisle
October 15th, 2015

"This new revival is brought to life by Aukin with simple, yet incredibly precise, staging...It’s hard to say whether this can be attributed to the short but fast paced running time, the constant movement of characters and ideas, or the honest words that hit like a knife, but this production allows for complete escapism from the confines of your theatre seat and into a scary mirror-like world where our fears about love and abandonment are explored with intensity and freedom."
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PopBytes
November 19th, 2015

"It’s a multi-layered, complex drama that unpacks the many definitions of 'love' and tests its limits in merciless ways. Although you won’t leave the theater feeling uplifted, the punch in the gut feeling you depart with is a testament to the work’s resounding power, unapologetic dialogue, and the committed performances of the actors...A show chock-full of jaw-on-your-floor moments."
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The New York Times
July 29th, 2014
For a previous production

"If their impossible mission was to achieve an instant, unfathomable intimacy, that assignment has been more than fulfilled in Daniel Aukin’s knockout production of 'Fool for Love...' Aukin’s revival never feels rushed or frantic. His version has the full quota of bruising physical contact that’s expected of 'Fool for Love.' But it’s the tightly stretched silences that get to you, with their suggestion that what’s occurring here has always been happening and will never cease."
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BroadwayWorld
July 28th, 2014
For a previous production

"Overall, this is one of those happy theatrical events when every aspect of the production comes together for a truly transporting evening of theatre...The resultant synergy gives this 'Fool For Love' real gusto. The Williamstown Theatre Festival has delivered another masterpiece of great theatre."
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CurtainUp
July 30th, 2014
For a previous production

"The landscape here is of the emotions that contain states of mind inside the self. Eddie and May have no tragic flaw or fateful quest but are just caught up in sorting through the emotional tumult of their lives in a power struggle where identity is vague and the past haunts the present...No wonder this manic depiction of ill-fated love set in motion as a result of destructive familial connections continues to have the power to draw us in."
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B
July 25th, 2014
For a previous production

"Absorbing though the production consistently is, though, 'Fool for Love' registers today as a surprisingly fragmentary work; at 75 minutes, it’s over too soon. We want to spend more time in the company of Eddie and May, two ex-lovers who have the stormiest imaginable reunion...In the fierce contest of wills waged on the blasted landscape of 'Fool for Love,' control of the story may be the only prize left."
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The Record Theater
July 29th, 2014
For a previous production

"This production forces you to give yourself over to the emotional power of the piece. The characters are so intense that the frailties of their life seem important and even dangerous...'Fool For Love' is more than a historically important production; it is a work that will touch you, make you feel and, for sure, it will make you wonder. That’s good theater."
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The Rogovoy Report
July 25th, 2014
For a previous production

"The production is nearly flawless and also reminds us that, when push comes to shove, nothing tops Williamstown at its best. Set, sound, staging, lighting – all are effective and seamless. This ain’t no summer stock. This is deep commitment to the theater that matters, drama that speaks our language, that throws our lives and culture in our faces and in our laps, that challenges at the same time it entertains."
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