“It’s fine for Sweden but not for Eden”
If you were so inclined, you could rip into Adam & Eve….and Steve for its tendency towards dramatic inconsistency and slight musical blandness but as Beelzebub pops up to tell us early on, it’s all “just a bit of heavenly humour”. And given that the show has thrived on the festival circuit (including Edinburgh last year) and is now playing in the late slot at the King’s Head, the temptation to take the Devil’s advice is a strong one.
For Adam & Eve… is affable indeed, enjoyable (particularly with a pint in hand) without ever straining too hard, and unashamedly light entertainment with its revisionist take on the Creation myth. Chandler Warren’s book posits a Garden of Eden where Eve’s temptation by an apple is matched with Adam’s temptation by an additional companion in Paradise called Steve, God’s plans for the human race thus thrown into disarray by the gays.
Joseph Robinson’s Welsh-accented Adam is a wonderfully innocent central presence, playing off the duelling intentions of Hayley Hampson’s scouse Eve and Dale Adams’ kicky Steve and if there’s little tension in whether he’ll choose reproduction over furniture shopping, there’s something delicately well done about the conflict between friends and lovers. The script also shoehorns in any number of incongruous celebrity references from Bruce Forsyth to Beyoncé without ever really making them funny enough.
What works better is the rivalry between Stephen McGlynn’s attention-craving Beelzebub and Michael Christopher’s booming-voiced God, their squabbles marvellously petulant and ultimately charmingly resolved in a soft-shoe vaudeville routine. Wayne Moore’s score scoots around a number of influences, almost music-hall style in its variety (at a cost perhaps to hummability), and Dean Austin’s musical direction from the piano works intelligently with the cast’s vocal abilities.
So enjoy Francesca Goodridge’s production for its good-natured fun, its crowd-pleasing costume design, the fact that it musically references Kim Wilde’s ‘Four Letter Word’ and its universal truth that for all the heteronormativity in the world, there’s always a place for the gays in Brighton.