Hope Theatre (venue)
25 May 2018 (released)
29 May 2018
There have been a recent spate of new plays on the subject of male predators this year and Adam and Eve appears to be another. Yet Tim Cook’s new play, for all its apparent modernity, tells a very old story in the end. Without wanting to spoil the plot, I was left with the disconcerting feeling that we’d regressed a few feminist decades as the late twist in the tale takes us back into very traditional stereotype’s of femininity. But perhaps this play is not really about the women but the experience of being a man in the #MeToo world.
Adam and Eve are moving out of the city so they can afford a house and start trying for a baby. Well, this is Eve’s plan anyway. Adam is a somewhat pompous English teacher who claims he likes to ‘process’ things (though we don’t get much sense of that) and is basically bored by their new life already. School seems to be one long detention with feisty student, Nikki who is pretty at least. Estate agent Eve is relentlessly focussed on controlling every aspect of her life. She’s given up drinking before she’s pregnant and calculates that each child will cost them 227,000 pounds - that’s without a private school education. Neither are particularly likeable characters so it’s a source of intrigue rather than concern when Adam is suspended from school and Eve cannot resist taking the matter into her own hands. We are asked to consider whether schoolgirl, Nikki deceitful and manipulative or vulnerable and abused?
Director Jeniffer Davis has shaped a rapid fire, 65 minute from Cook’s three hander which crackles with sharp dialogue and a touch of poetry. Actors, Lee Knight (Adam) and Jeannie Dickinson (Eve) bound from scene to scene, never dropping the ball for a second. Melissa Parker gives a strong, convincing performance as Nikki, until the narrative twist makes her role impossible to believe. Designer Sorcha Crcoran has limited her concept to a rather beautiful cloud made of scrunched up paper suspended above them so there’s no where to hide on the empty stage and set and whilst the energy is invigorating, it sometimes felt a little rushed, the performances overly dependent on the text, without the space to breath the characters into life.
Cook’s play certainly raises questions about who we instinctively trust when accusations are made. Since Eve got the blame in the garden of Eden, women have more often than not been blamed or silenced in cases of abuse, or their cases have just been impossible to prove in a court of law. Now it seems that women are shouting their own truth very loudly. But what is the ‘real’ truth behind each story? Maybe Adam and Eve is a warning that the tide has turned and the male voice is being drowned out…