Tuesday, 5 June 2018

REVIEW: Adam and Eve at the Hope Theatre

The Hope Theatre Islington is one of the small London pub theatres that are severely limited as a space. A black box, with two rows of seats each side and a single entrance to the acting area in one corner. It creates a challenge for the director and actors as it is inevitable that the cast will have their backs to the audience for part of the time.

However this latest offering, Adam and Eve directed by Jennifer Davis rises to this challenge and offers an engaging "Did he do it?" dilemma. Adam is a teacher, Eve an estate agent. They are newlyweds and in love when Nikki, a pupil at school provides the temptation. It must be a familiar situation and Tim Cook's play cleverly unpicks the story so we never sure who is telling the truth. As Eve says, there is no smoke without fire but equally in the #MeToo era the saying “innocent until proved guilty” applies.

Jeannie Dickinson, is excellent as Eve, switching effectively between loving wife, to supportive partner to doubting independent woman. Melissa Parker is Nikki, the clever, sly, scheming pupil who tests the strength of her love. She sees it as a project based on her understanding of the novel Jane Eyre. Lee Knight as Adam is gradually broken down by the unfolding “evidence” from confident denial to a desperate exasperated reflection. 

The action moves quickly from their home, to his school classroom to the local supermarket in short episodic scenes that reveal the story. It cleverly plays with your sympathies switching from the defenceless teacher, to the horrified wife to the abused school girl. It provides a sobering reminder of the dangers of social media and the potential for misinterpretation or manipulation.

Designer Sorcha Corcoran and Lighting Designer Ben Jacobs have little to work with. The scrumpled paper mobile lit from above hangs like a cloud of discarded stories over the action and two white chairs are all there is but with a minimum of props the cast easily set each scene. 

It is a story as old as time but with regular media stories of teachers and sixth form pupils relationships, it is updated and relevant and in the tight intimate confines of this theatre it works as strong interesting piece of drama.

Review by Nick Wayne

Rating: ★★★

Seat: Unreserved | Price of Ticket: £15
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