Saturday, 1 April 2017

Theatre review: Adam and Eve and Steve

Taking what's usually a homophobic cliché and turning it into a decidedly gay-friendly musical is Wayne Moore (music) and Chandler Warren's (book and lyrics) Adam and Eve and Steve. God (Michael Christopher) has created Adam (Joseph Robinson) and is preparing to create a mate for him when Beelzebub (Stephen McGlynn) intervenes and creates Steve (Dale Adams) instead. By the time Eve (Hayley Hampson) turns up Adam's already besotted with his new male friend. In fact he likes both of them equally but the fact that everyone's telling him he should be with Eve exclusively only puts him off her. Warren and Moore's show promises a bit of silly fun and absolutely delivers - the songs aren't going to win any awards for originality but they're lively and daft, and the cast have a lot of fun singing them that transfers to the audience.

In fact, with the conceit that God and Beelzebub are an old music hall act who've fallen out, there is a definite music hall sound to most of the songs, with a little bit of pastiche making up the rest of a score that really does pack quite a lot of numbers into 75 minutes.

Obviously "quick Trump reference for an easy laugh" is going to be the bane of my theatregoing life for the next few years, but director Francesca Goodridge hasn't been afraid to tinker with an American show and give it a very British feel. The references to UK celebrities and events are very much hit and miss but the idea of having Robinson and Hampson keep, and probably exagerate, their own accents as Adam and Eve (Welsh and Scouse respectively) is one of the things that makes the show endearing.

And while there's plenty of dodgy gags there's a couple of real belters in there as well - my favourite has to be Steve, after he's eaten the apple* of knowledge, telling Adam why he should choose him: "I speak 100 language and I can't say no in any of them." Obviously a show about almost-naked men is something of a thirst trap, and Robinson in particular doesn't disappoint - goofily cute face on top of a fit chunky body is never going to be a bad combo as far as I'm concerned, and maybe his nipples or the bum cheeks poking out of his fig leaves could see him recognised come my end-of-year awards - but the sex jokes are decidedly Carry On and the show never stops feeling rather sweet. Cheap'n'cheerful, not cheap and nasty.

Adam and Eve and Steve by Chandler Warren and Wayne Moore is booking until the 29th of April at the King's Head Theatre.

Running time: 1 hour 15 minutes straight through.

*Phill would like it noted that the apple is a biblical inaccuracy, it's only described as a fruit, and in a story originating in the Middle East is more likely to have been an orange. While we're on it, Beelzebub and Satan are not the same character, and in any case the concept of Satan doesn't really get defined until the New Testament. But then, the concept of "playing Bobby in a touring production of Company" isn't really mentioned much as a job option in either testament, so this may be nit-picking a tad.

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