ADAM & Eve is a wonderful vignette of a play. It is of our time, powerful and full of twists and turns. Scary. Frightening. Pulsating theatre.
Written by Tim Cook and directed skilfully by Jennifer Davis, Adam & Eve cranks up the action through the use of short scenes, interrupted by in your face music. The stage is sparse, comprising no more than a couple of chairs, a notebook or two and a name badge. The bleakness and the darkness adds to the intensity.
The play is built around the burgeoning relationship between Adam (a drop dead gorgeous Lee Knight) and Eve (Jeannie Dickinson). They are buying their first home in the country. Adam is an English teacher while Eve is an estate agent. They seem in love and a family beckons – ideally, boy, girl and then another boy (Eve). They have everything mapped out. All is sweetness and light. Love rules supreme.
But the idyll is fractured as a disruptive student (Nikki, played by Melissa Parker) starts to make accusations about Adam. Although we are only witness to him presiding over her as she serves another detention (and makes suggestive comments to him along the way) – and then later when he applauds her for an A rated piece of work – has the teacher-student relationship gone beyond educational professionalism. Or is someone lying?
Slowly but surely, the Adam and Eve relationship goes into global warming meltdown.
Eve, initially loyal and now pregnant, starts to question Adam about why he has been suspended from school. Social media and its avalanche of rumours does not help her state of mind. In turn Adam tries to convince her that the truth will out. He is far too laid back and fails to see the nasty storm clouds gathering at his front door. Texts and lurid descriptions of sex in the back of a car do Adam no favours. Guilty m’lud. Nikki is utterly convincing as the one who has supposedly been abused. It does not end very well, especially for Adam.
The play is clever and intelligent. It also has its moments of humour – for example, when Eve quotes the cost of bringing up a child (just short of £230,000) and Adam responds by saying that if he had that kind of money in the bank he would go out and buy a Ferrari, not a child. When Eve asks Adam to tell her the things he loves about her, he waffles on about her love of chocolate. Eve is not impressed.
The play is also disturbing as it reveals how difficult it is to fend off accusations in a world controlled and driven by social media. Also, does anyone have the right to interfere in someone’s relationship on the grounds that they think their actions will empower them (a ‘rebirth’)? Challenging. Provocative.
The acting is sublime with Knight, Dickinson and Parker not putting a foot wrong. They are all utterly convincing in their roles, none more so than Knight who literally sleepwalks into a trap.
A cracking play.
Adam & Eve runs until June 9 at the Hope Theatre, Highbury, London.