King’s Head Theatre, London – until 29 April 2017
Hyperbole is a wonderful thing – Edinburgh’s gutters run with it. According to the PR, Adam & Eve and Steve comes from a “sellout season in Los Angeles” – actually a four and a half week run in a 46-seat venue very much the wrong side of the Hollywood Hills. It is a delightful curiosity, though, in the sense that it’s a show deliberately aiming at a long life on college and festival circuits rather than having eyes on the prize of Broadway or the West End. I had hoped for a rewrite and some sharpening-up since its outing in Edinburgh last August, but it has arrived intacta at the King’s Head.
That doesn’t make it bad, even if its composers Chandler Warren and Wayne Moore pace the same musical corridors as Jason Robert Brown or Ahrens & Flaherty. This boutique piece is played with the lightness of pantomime, making it a wholly enjoyable outing and at 75 minutes it doesn’t outstay its welcome.
In this Eden project, an impossibly winsome and Welsh Adam – a fine performance of masculine innocence by Guildford student Joseph Robinson that should guarantee him Prince Charmings and Aladdins till he’s as old as Darren Day – is torn between a bromance with diabolically-created Steve and fecundity with Hayley Hampson’s splendidly coarse and chavvy Eve. This being musical theatre, despite the audience clearly willing the boys to get together, he finally nests in the lady garden.
Stephen McGlynn has infectious joy chewing the rudimentary scenery as an outrageous Beelzebub and, despite their rivalry, God and the Devil do a reflective soft-shoe routine, rather like Lola and Mr Applegate in Damn Yankees.
No deep insights, but lots of fun all the same.