Hope Theatre, London – 9 June 2018
Who do you instinctively believe – the accuser or the accused? In a cultural narrative being reshaped by the force of the #MeToo movement, but also being buffeted by the increasing pervasiveness of alternative facts, finding an incontrovertible truth can seem harder than ever. So what happens when it is you that gets caught up in a world of damning allegations…
Such is the lot of estate agent Eve and schoolteacher Adam. Drawn to find their garden of Eden by moving out of the city, the rural idyll of their marriage is rocked when he is asked not to come into work while claims against him are investigated. Claims that seem scarcely believable, but claims that won’t go away, claims that worry away at the very foundation of what we believe.
Tim Cook’s Adam & Eve does an intriguing job of subverting how we think such a drama might play out. Lee Knight’s Adam has a cockiness that tips on the wrong side of swagger (he has a manbun FFS), curdling his meet-cute with Eve by deeming her ‘not a slut’. And in the other corner, Melissa Parker’s schoolgirl Nikki is a ferociously disobedient presence – neither prove what we might call likeable.
In the middle, Jeannie Dickinson’s Eve does strong work as a woman caught between clinging onto the dream life she is planning and a determination not to be naive. Jennifer Davis’ direction does well at capturing the slipperiness of the rabbit-hole down which we’re led, though Sorcha Corcoran’s design seems a little split between the abstractness of its suspended lighting feature and slightly fussy detail (do we really need hurriedly slipped-on dressing gowns for instance?).
More crucially, at a moment when real life is so complex (I saw the show on a day when both Harvey Weinstein was charged with rape and sexual abuse and George Takei’s accuser changed crucial details about his accusations) it feels a little hard to see where Adam & Eve’s sits in the contemporary conversation. At the risk of spoilers, its uninterrogated conclusion feels problematic in what it says about who we believe and why and it’s hard not to want more from a writer who shows all the signs of being able to give it.