Abigail Bryant reviews Adam & Eve at The Hope Theatre, Islington
In today’s political and media climate, the very definition of ‘truth’ is as ambiguous as it is dangerous. Taking a step back from Trump and Hollywood, Adam & Eve confronts a post-truth era against the landscape of ordinary lives, with a newly-wed couple at the heart of a play which explores trust, feminism and the nature of accusations. After a critically acclaimed run last year, Royal Court Young Writer Tim Cook’s play comes to the Hope Theatre and provides 65 minutes of genuine anticipation, startling plot twists and a compelling commentary on marriage in a society where the notion of truth is fluid and intangible.
From the outset of the play we’re sceptically convinced that Adam and Eve ‘belong together’, and they strive to maintain an idyllic life, fuelled by a ‘masterplan’ which lays the tracks for house ownership, children, grandchildren and retirement together. Kept vague as to avoid any spoilers, a serious allegation against Adam turns their pristine world upside down, and Eve is forced to evaluate her relationship with her husband, as well as measure the weight of the accusations against how well she thinks she really knows him. Jeannie Dickinson is compelling and strong as Eve, and offsets her business-driven demeanour as an estate agent with more vulnerable and sincere moments, giving the character well-rounded and much needed dimensions. Adam, played convincingly by (Lee Knight), is a complex character who subtly manipulates other characters, as well as the audience, into a state of charm and hostility with the slightest of actions. And then there’s Nikki (played by Melissa Parker), the third party catalyst (the ‘apple’ in the biblical sense) that blends vulnerability and power to truly challenge our expectations and moral standing, and ultimately forces Adam and Eve, as well as us the audience, to do some hard work of our own.
A credit to Jennifer Davis’s direction, each scene is kept impressively snappy and engaging, with every action and line completely necessary and impactful to the overall narrative. The audience are in the palm of the writer’s hands, and as the plot thickens so does the tension and apprehension within the confined walls of the Hope Theatre. Cook creatively strikes parallels between fiction and non-fiction, and Adam & Eve is an important, pertinent if not unconventional modern-day romance.