Jack Studio Theatre 29 August – 2 September. Reviewed by Claire Roderick
Wow. Adam & Eve is one of those plays that will stick in your mind for a very long time. Incredibly and intricately written by Tim Cook, at first you think this is going to be one of those trite “We had a perfect relationship, but let’s look back at how it all went wrong” plays, but it soon becomes clear that this is so much darker, deeper and disturbing than any of that fluffy nonsense.
Teacher Adam (Christopher Adams) and estate agent Eve (Jeannie Dickinson) meet in uni, get married and follow the norm, buying a house in the country to start their perfectly planned family. They seem perfectly happy, until an incident at Adam’s school, involving teenager Nikki (Anuschka Rapp) makes Eve question their entire relationship.
Cook’s writing is just phenomenal. To begin with, when the couple are happy, the rhythm and cadence of their conversations are wonderful, portraying the image of two entirely different people completely in tune and accepting of each other. The pressure to do what is expected by society and settle for a life that isn’t quite as you’d imagined is stressed without being overegged, and you instantly warm to the couple. As the story unfolds, and Nikki is introduced, the darker side of Adam’s personality emerges, with his instinct to protect Eve and his need for control creating lots of conflict and doubt about his true character.
Nikki is a brilliant enigma – petulant and precocious (and initially just begging for a slap) she is the perfect antagonist in Adam and Eve’s little garden of Eden. The audience is taken on the same journey as Eve – who is telling the truth? The writing and acting causes you to shift your allegiance many times as new evidence and strange behaviour emerges. You will not have a clue what is going on – which is a rare pleasure nowadays.
The cast are sublime – Christopher Adams manages the nuanced changes from sweet everyman to shifty possible pervert with aplomb, never allowing Adam to get too unlikeable. Jeannie Dickinson is a treat as Eve – full of energy and fun, but bringing out her steely side as the play progresses. Their chemistry is superb. Anushka Rapp has a tough job with Nikki, keeping her from becoming the caricature of stroppy teenager we are all familiar with, but she succeeds brilliantly – spitting out the snarky comments with glee and brilliantly vulnerable in one crucial scene.
With pleasingly simple design that lets the actors shine, this is a pitch perfect production. Fantastically written and performed, the play hits you in the guts, making you question your own judgement and gullibility. Brilliant, just brilliant. Adam & Eve MUST get a longer run – people need to see this play.