Review: Going Ape, Union Theatre

The Bible and evolution go head to head in broady and bawdy comedy Going Ape at the Union Theatre

“I’m sorry, I’m not Abel to say…”

Did you know Adam and Eve lived for 900 years? I must have forgotten that bit of Sunday School… Andrew Corbet Burcher’s Going Ape joins them a few centuries down the line. Tossed out of the Garden of Eden, their son Cain banished to roam the world, nothing but apples to cook…they’ve hit that 300 year itch.

But Cain is coming to visit for a couple of days, where he’ll meet his new brother Seth for the first time. And he’s got his own surprise in store, a girlfriend called Lucy who he met on his travels. Her real name is Australopithecus afarensis and she’s a big fan of bananas, she’s also about to open their eyes by tipping over on the evolutionary scale.

As a broad and bawdy comedy, Going Ape hits the mark on what it is trying to achieve. It’s a frippery that takes not a minute of itself seriously, as Lucy’s speedy evolution from semi-upright to stagey nightmare evidences. Post-interval, she seizes control in order to invent ‘theatre’ and stage a version of the Creation myth featuring the original cast. 

Evan Ensign’s loose-limbed production lets a few too many of the scripted jokes slide by unnoticed but a talented ensemble play well off the comic energy with each other and the audience. As the long-suffering Eve, Melanie La Barrie (oops! she did it again) is gloriously good fun, as is Gabriel Vick’s alarmingly bicep-flexing Cain, amusingly recast as a gap yah kid. 

Running time: 1 hour 37 minutes (with interval)
Photos: Aidan Orange
Going Ape is booking at the Union Theatre until 10th July

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