Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

Fool for Love
Magic Theatre
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Richard's reviews of A Thousand Splendid Suns and Daniel's Husband and Patrick's reviews of The Real Americans, One Stone (Einstein) and Hand to God

Andrew Pastides and Jessi Campbell
Photo by Jennifer Reiley
The Magic Theatre opens their 50th season with a legacy revival of Sam Shepard's Fool for Love. I saw this explosive and timeless masterpiece when it first premiered at the Magic in 1983 where is was directed by Shepard. It starred Kathy Baker, Ed Harris, Dennis Ludlow, and Will Marchetti. I have seen this fiery drama many times over the years, including a production last year at the Sheldon Theatre.

I have to say that director Loretta Greco's presentation is one of the best I have seen of this play. It's a dark, seamy love story and this production never quite knows whether to play it disturbingly or straight. It's "in your face" theatre, part allegory, part romance, and part western.

Fool for Love takes place in a seedy motel room on the edge of the Mojave Desert where cowboy Eddie (Andrew Pastides) arrives and May (Jessi Campbell) sits up all messed up on the bed. They are half-siblings trying to extricate themselves from a damaging, incestuous relationship. May gets her life on track with a job as a cook and a new boyfriend. However, neither can bear to let go of the other. They pull to and push away from each other during the 65-minute drama. During the evening, new boyfriend Martin (Patrick Russell) comes onto the scene. All the while, sitting just in front of a platform where this play is presented in the intimate theatre is the ghostly figure of an old man (Rod Gnapp). He sits in a rocking chair and he's apparently their father who haunts their imagination, giving contradictory accounts of the past.

Loretta Greco has assembled four terrific actors for this production. Andrew Pastides is outstanding as Eddie, the machismo cowboy. Jessi Campbell is eminently watchable as May. Both give hotheaded performances. Rod Gnapp is dazzling as the Old Man with his striking voice. Rounding out the cast is Patrick Russell as Martin. He is given too little room to maneuver, but he does it splendidly.

Fool for Love has been extended through March 5, 2017, at the Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd, Building D, 3rd Floor, San Francisco. To purchase tickets call 415-441-8822 or online at Coming next is Paul Vogel's The Baltimore Waltz running March 22nd through April 16.

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