Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Theatre: Adam and Eve

The Wet Weather Ensemble
Devised by Ian Sinclair, Moya Thomas and the cast
Directed by Moya Thomas
With St John Cowcher, Alicia Osyka, Ian Sinclair and Moana Lutton
The Blue Room Theatre
October 11 - 29, 2011

This Adam and Eve is an exhilarating account of man’s first disobedience, the fruit of a forbidden tree and the loss of Eden. A modern re-telling of The Fall could easily descend into mere parody or undergraduate piffle, but in the hands of director Moya Thomas and a cracking quartet of young actors, there’s not the slightest risk of that happening.
The hilariously droll St John Cowcher sets the tone in best Hugh Laurie (pre-House) style, and from then on it’s a whacky rollercoaster ride of cultural references and theatrical tomfoolery. Along the way the lost and lonely Adam (Ian Sinclair) meets his heavenly Eve (Moana Lutton) out the back of a club called Eden, and it’s love, and the fate of mankind, at first glance. It’s as if there’s no-one but them in the world.
Well there is, of course. There are angels, priests, bouncers and bartenders (all played by Alicia Osyka), devils, serpents, gunslingers and scientists (Cowcher). The parry and thrust of their arguments proceed at breakneck speed, especially early, and with an extraordinary inventiveness; things come to hand and get used. A pillow is ripped apart and its insides become clouds for the lovers to gaze at; an old-school overhead projector lights the characters, hand-drawn slides providing speech bubbles and scenery; a child’s plastic karaoke toy amplifies monologues and sound effects.
The pace and the flow of ideas are smashing. The biblical and Miltonic story flashes in and out, but there’s no attempt, or need, to be too literal about it all. With so many ideas crashing about in the show’s 70-odd minutes, there’s bound to be some flat spots and missed steps, but, if they throw you off, you’re probably not in the mood to begin with.
Sinclair and Lutton do have defined characters to inhabit, and a journey to go on, and they do it well. Lutton is a bomb, and her startling crack at BeyoncĂ©’s Freakum Dress (this Eve can be quite a party girl) was a show-stopper. The elongated Cowcher and Oskya, a Magdya Zubanski in the making, have no such obligations. They are a perfect comic pairing (think Stan and Ollie) and produce some laugh-out-loud moments.
Despite the show’s knocked-together style, there’s tight, sophisticated technical stuff going on under the surface, especially in a soundtrack (designed by Will Slade) that riffs from Fred Astaire’s Dancing Cheek to Cheek to Black Box’s Ride on Time – with Lutton’s own Gotta Go thrown in for good measure
Adam and Eve is exactly what the Blue Room is all about. It’s one apple you should bite into soon.

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