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Fool For Love

From 58 critic and 170 member reviews
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. More…

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.

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

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

Theatre is Easy

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Show Showdown

"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." Full Review

Center on the Aisle

"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." 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

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

USA Today

"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." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"'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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." 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

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 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

Manhattan Digest

"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." Full Review

Broadway Showbiz

"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!" 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

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

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


"'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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"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?" Full Review

Los Angeles Times

"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." Full Review

NY Theatre Guide

"'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." Full Review

Raunchy, Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Absorbing

See it if you like Nina Arianda, Sam Rockwell and love!

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with incest...

Absorbing, Intense, Masterful, Great acting, Exquisite

See it if you are a fan of Sam Shepard. His words are delivered masterfully by Sam Rockwell & Nina Arianda.

Don't see it if you're turned off by elements of character that are messy and dark.

Romantic, Must see, Masterful, Edgy, Absorbing

See it if You like to see great plays

Don't see it if You don't understand good writing

Riveting, Exquisite, Great staging, Crackling energy, Great acting

See it if Want to see Nina and Sam play emotional scales from top to bottom seamlessly and authentically. Their every pose and expression riveted me

Don't see it if I guess if you're bothered by tempestuous relationships. I don't understand the "dated" complaints - tight play, perfectly done. See it!

Romantic, Intense, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing

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

Original, Masterful, Romantic, Enchanting, Delightful

See it if you want to see great stars in the show

Don't see it if you are not into plays

Absorbing, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if you like Sam Shephard, Sam Rockwell, and Nina Arianda.

Don't see it if you are looking for a spectacle.

Intelligent, Great acting, Exquisite, Enchanting, Clever

See it if see more

Don't see it if see more

Also A powerful cast in a powerful production at ACTOR'S Studio (Nov 2018) ... Read more Read less

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

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.

Slow, Intense, Edgy, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you love great acting, utterly messy love, and the occasional lasso toss.

Don't see it if the intense slow burn of Sam Shepard's dramas of wrecked lives make you want to hang yourself with a lasso.

Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Absorbing

See it if you are a fan of Shepard, dig the mythology of the American West, and want to experience an intense revival of a contemporary classic.

Don't see it if you think Shepard's work is a misogynistic and/or are seeking an evening of non-stop laughs.

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

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

Sexy, Intense, Great acting, Funny, Absorbing

See it if You are a fan of Sam Rockwell or Nina Arianda, who are both amazing here, and have fantastic chemistry together!!

Don't see it if You can't handle 75 mins without an intermission, I suppose.

Uneven script, Intimate, Volatile, Sexy, Compelling

See it if you want to see some gripping performances in an explosive, flawed modern classic.

Don't see it if Shepard writing at the height of his macho style does not thrill you.

Also (This is the ACTORS STUDIO production of November 2018.) All the perfo... Read more Read less

Dark, Intense, Great acting, Edgy, Absorbing

See it if This was a really intense show and the actors were all wonderful.

Don't see it if It's a dark story so not one to go to in a bad mood

Disappointing, Slow, Great writing

See it if you can because the writing is very good.

Don't see it if like happily ever after endings.

Powerful, Must see, Riveting, Resonant, Great acting

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.

Slow, Refreshing, Masterful, Intense

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.

Unique, Shocking, Great acting, Funny, Dark

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

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

Simmering, Great acting, Riveting, Intense, Absorbing

See it if you'd be moved by an intense approach/avoidance standoff between two deeply damaged characters in a story that unfolds to a powerful ending.

Don't see it if you need wrapped up tight happy endings or if performances centered around intense confrontation are not your thing.

Riveting, Intense, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You want to see two of the greatest actors around (Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell) tear up the stage together (whole cast is excellent).

Don't see it if You just want an evening of light entertainment.

Must see, Profound, Riveting, Raunchy, Thought-provoking

See it if You are familiar with Sam Shepherd's work and darker tones

Don't see it if Are looking for something with a lighter mood.

Thought-provoking, Intense, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you all need to see it to see Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell just absolutely kill this play

Don't see it if you hate cowboys

Riveting, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

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

Great acting, Edgy, Disappointing, Original, Ambitious

See it if You like complex stories, well written characters, good acting, and dramatic work. Plus, the "endless" ending makes you want to see more.

Don't see it if You're easily bored. While the second half makes up for it, the first half can get pretty slow.

Cast & Creatives (11)