The life of this first couple doesn't seem to pan out as they had hoped. But will Adam & Eve weather the storm? Daniel Perks finds out:

Tim Cook’s story begins at the end, an altercation between Adam (Lee Knight) and Eve (Jeannie Dickinson) on their broken marriage. It seems that we know exactly how Adam & Eve is going to pan out, a perfect ending to an imperfect story. Yet this narrative is far less simple than it appears.

And then it rewinds. Back to the start, to unwind the tale of a man’s alleged indiscretions. This seemingly perfect married couple appears brought together by fate, yet their union breaks down when teacher Adam (Knight) comes under investigation regarding a matter with pupil Nikki (Melissa Parker) at his school. Right from the start, we can predict the incident that is never quite spoken out loud – unsurprisingly, Adam & Eve follows that train of thought.

Here, in a nutshell, is the main issue with this whole production. Everything is well conceived, well put together and acted on with conviction. But it’s predictable. Director Jennifer Davis meanders the action along at a comfortable pace, with some nice mirroring between Knight and Dickinson that reflects the deep-rooted connection between this pairing. But Davis never manages to uncover deeper meaning in this script, digging so hard as to lose impact in some particularly vibrant and energetic exchanges.

Adam Eve Hope Theatre

Jeannie Dickinson & Lee Knight

Knight cleverly plays an undercurrent of misogyny throughout his depiction of a modern man. Subtle gazes and inflections imply that while he rarely shows his disdain, his character considers himself superior to the women in this narrative. The juxtaposition between this Victorian train of thought and teaching Jane Eyre to his students is an enjoyable plot point. And this is just one of the little details that Cook’s production is packed with, a well-crafted piece of writing that unravels slightly at the end, with multiple potential concluding scenes that ultimately lack impact.

Ultimately, it’s the hazy vision to Adam & Eve that lets it down – we are left without sufficient surprise, drive or intrigue. An exception is in Parker’s portrayal of schoolgirl Nikki, a conundrum of a character that deserves more opportunity for exploration on stage. While Dickinson’s Eve is a steady performance well executed, Parker flashes micro-reactions that hint at some deeper psychology at play – a series of façades to her character that we never get the chance to delve into.

Adam Eve Hope Theatre

Melissa Parker

The key question that surrounds Adam & Eve is the nature of truth – when we are faced with conflicting stories and dubious evidence, who do we choose to believe? Initially we side with Nikki, but Cook’s narrative shows that the reality is never that black or white. And yet this message doesn’t land because it isn’t signposted enough throughout the show. We chart a marriage breakdown, rather than querying a belief system, and that is a story that has been performed many times before.

 

 

★★★☆☆

Adam & Eve runs at The Hope Theatre until 9 June 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.