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Fool For Love

Members say: Great acting, Intense, Absorbing, Disappointing, Overrated
58 reviews
159 reviews

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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May and Eddie have both been fools in and out of love. Beaten down by ill-fated love and a ruthless struggle for identity, can they ultimately live with, or without, each other? Tony Award winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur) and Sam Rockwell bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard's landmark myth of the new Wild West. A remount of the 2014 Williamstown Theatre Festival production.


Reviews (217)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

The New York Times

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Time Out New York

"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." Full Review


" 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." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"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." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"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." Full Review

New York Theater

"'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." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"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.' Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"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." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"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." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"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." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"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." Full Review

AM New York

"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." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"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." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"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." Full Review

New York Daily News

"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." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"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?" Full Review


"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." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

The Wrap

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if Great performances from the cast. Wonderfully written.

Don't see it if you won't, it closed.

Intense, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you are a fan of the actors and can forgive their excesses in service of an overwrought play with underdeveloped characters.

Don't see it if you're expecting another star turn from Nina Arianda a la Venus in Fur -- this part is sorely 2-dimensional and not worthy of her talent.

Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you need to see everything sam does, like I do

Don't see it if if you expect normal great sam. this play is missing a little bit in every area. I have not had any luck with MTC show. I only liked one

Annoying, Great acting, Indulgent, Excruciating

See it if You adore Nina Ariadne. That is the only reason I can think of.

Don't see it if You can't bear Sam Shepard's plays. I want my time back!

Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if Even for $5, this was brutal

Don't see it if Wish I knew better before I went in.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Cliched, Overrated, Dated

See it if A drama with flawed characters.

Don't see it if Not much happens in this play. Was bored

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Romantic, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a pair of marvelous performances in a deceptively experimental, challenging, and wild play about obsession and family

Don't see it if the cowboy mythos does nothing for you

Indulgent, Disappointing, Slow, Miscast, Deflated impact

See it if you love Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda and will see any Sam Shepard play no matter what.

Don't see it if if you love Sam Shepard's writing, hope for great directing of this classic Shepard play, or if you are expecting Nina as Venus in Furs.

Banal, Excruciating, Cliched, Dated, Dull

See it if you really like the actors and want to see them on stage. You enjoy pointless, meandering faux-insightful plays.

Don't see it if you want to see a well-written play and good performances. I hated this. It felt endless. I was close to falling asleep towards the end.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Great writing

See it if For theatre that grabs you by the throat and won't let go. Sam Shepard fans. Cast was great. I felt smacked in the face, but that's not bad.

Don't see it if Not for the faint of heart. Theatre was a bit large, but eh. If you don't like Sam Shepard. You want the happy vapid musical.

Great acting, Intense, Slow

See it if You love Sam Shepard, Nina Arianda or Sam Rockwell.

Don't see it if You have recently loved another production of "Fool for Love." I did and thought that this production was awkwardly directed and very cold.

Absorbing, Edgy, Intelligent, Sam shepard!, Taut drama

See it if You like Shepard's work, like his characters and their personal struggles. You want to see intense theater.

Don't see it if On stage anger, rage, scares you. You want something light.

Great acting, Intense, Romantic, Overrated, Slow

See it if You love Sam Shepard and dark dramas.

Don't see it if You're not a Shepard fan and can't stand slowly paced, small-cast plays.

Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Riveting

See it if you love Sam Shepard and great acting! When Shepard isn't done well it's painful but this revival with stunning performances was intense.

Don't see it if you're not a fan of Shepard and his darker take on American life.

Great acting, Must see, Resonant, Riveting, Powerful

See it if If you like the 2 Sams (Shepard and Rockwell). Fascinating. Primal. Excellent cast. Excellent writing. Well directed.

Don't see it if You don't like difficult material.

Intense, Raunchy, Indulgent, Overrated, Dated

See it if You love Sam Shepard and haven't seen this.

Don't see it if You don't want to watch a couple fight violently for the entire play. The theater er was too big for most recent revival.

Intense, Masterful, Refreshing, Slow

See it if You want to see a gripping portrait of a toxic relationship in all its brutal glory. Stunning performances by Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell.

Don't see it if You can't handle the intense subject matter, or are looking for something other than a one room descent into emotional savagery.

Boring, Great acting, Disappointing, Overrated, Slow

See it if You are a fan of Sam Shepard.

Don't see it if You want to be entertained and not puzzled.

Original, Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you like great acting & an intriguing, twisted series of events.

Don't see it if resonating silence or open ended conclusions aren't interesting to you.

Disappointing, Dated

See it if very slow moving plot and uncaring characters . Seems more like an off Broadway show. I usually like Sam Shepard plays but this a bore

Don't see it if you have any objections to falling asleep in theater

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Confusing, Atmospheric

See it if you're into moody, atmospheric shows with solid performances.

Don't see it if you want something light.

Absorbing, Dizzying, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if you want to experience echt sam shepard performed by a brilliant cast.

Don't see it if you want something fluffy, unserious or undemanding

Funny, Dark, Great acting, Unique, Shocking

See it if You like the darkness that Sam Shepard crests.

Don't see it if You like more uplifting plays.

Great acting, Overrated, Unresolved, Soapy

See it if Actually like Shepard. Appreciate physical habitation in characters more than a cogent rationale for said characters. Arianda and Rockwell.

Don't see it if Want resolution, or the "real" story. So over incest in classic American drama. Want plot and development rather than static tragedy.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Riveting

See it if you want to see great performances by Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell. Great chemistry - sit back and watch the sparks fly.

Don't see it if you don't like Sam Shepard, as this is a classic play from his canon. Also, this is basically a two-hander but is by no means a "small" play