Ask any devout Christian why they are against homosexuality and their first reaction is to reach for the trusty bible and open it to either Leviticus 18 or Genesis 1. Now Leviticus is easy to discredit – just look at the list of things that are banned in that chapter and you see why – but Genesis is a little more difficult, after all, everyone knows it takes a man and a woman to produce offspring and populating the world would have been difficult without a lot of babies being born. However, supposing there had been some judicious editing done to Genesis before publication and instead of God creating just Adam and Eve, he actually created Adam & Eve… And Steve? Well, wonder no more and just pop along to the King’s Head Theatre where a new musical of that name has just arrived to set the record ‘straight’.
All is going exceedingly well in the Garden of Eden and God (Michael Christopher) is pretty happy with his various creations – the Universe, Solar System, Sun, Earth, animals, water, etc, etc, etc. There is only one fly in the ointment and that is the presence of Beelzebub (Stephen McGlynn) who is intent on creating mischief and havoc in God’s new world. Despite Beelzebub’s constant sniping, God decides to go ahead with his plan and create a race to rule over and dominate the planet, thus Adam (Joseph Robinson) comes into being. Young, handsome and fit, Adam is one-half of God’s earth-populating team and he goes off to create the other half. However, thanks to a bit of jiggery-pokery by Beelzebub, a bit of a cock-up occurs and God ends up creating Steve (Dale Adams) instead of Eve (Hayley Hampson). Not knowing any different, Adam and Steve believe that they have been made for each other and, encouraged by Beelzebub, go off to explore their new world. Once God has realised his mistake, he places Eve in Eden and sets her off to find Adam. Is this going to end up as the ultimate ménage à trois, re-writing history and the Bible as we know it or will God, Beelzebub, Adam, Eve and Steve find a way to make things work?
Since, according to lots of people, my destination after I die has already been settled, I can say with no fear whatsoever that Adam & Eve … And Steve is a brilliant, fun, totally irreverent musical that would raise a smile on the holiest of holiest of the angels. So, when a show starts with the MD (Dean Austin) walking to his piano dressed as Gabriel – or at least some member of the heavenly host, then you know it is probably going to be a bit of a laugh. Well, Adam & Eve… And Steve is definitely that. Chandler Warren has put together a great book that tells a lovely story about the early days of creation that traverses through its seventy-five minutes run time extremely well. For a short one-act show, there are a surprisingly large number of songs (music by Wayne Moore, lyrics by Chandler Warren) of different styles which really add to the enjoyment of the show and fit the story extremely well. I think if I have one criticism it is that I think the story could be expanded to look at some of the relationships – particularly that of God and Beelzebub – in more detail.
And speaking of Beelzebub, one thing this show makes clear is that, you should forget the title, as everything is all about the big B. I can so identify with those sentiments and in fact, the opening number “All About Me” is my new theme tune. Beelzebub is potentially a difficult character to write but Chandler has made him a really loveable rogue with an image that is enhanced by Stephen McGlynn’s portrayal. Stephen keeps Beelzebub on the right side of evil, making him a naughty but loveable, camp game show host type of person. In fact, there is mention in the show of Bruce Forsyth and I could actually see a younger Brucie in the role of Beelzebub with his powerful charisma, winning smile and skill in manipulating people so that they go along with his plan believing it is their own idea.
Despite what Beelzebub believes, the show is of course about the Adam, Eve and Steve and all three of them are really superb. They spend all of the show wearing nothing but some leaf covered underwear to protect their modesty and, with these limited costumes, manage to convey the reality of their character extremely well. Joseph Robinson’s Adam has a wonderful look of innocence and wonder about him and when he first steps onto Maeve Black’s set, he looks as if he really is totally new to the Garden of Eden. Hopefully, Dale won’t take this negatively but his Steve is the ultimate campy twink and he really knows how to work that image beautifully. There is a lot of hip thrusting, finger pointing and general posturing which gives an image of confidence but also hides the vulnerability of the young. Making up this trio of young people finding themselves in the new world is Eve. Hayley Hampson’s first woman comes across as someone who pretty much instantly knows who she is and what she wants and is not going to let some bitchy queen get between her and her man. Using a combination of snarkiness, sarcasm and flirting, Adam stands no chance and Steve needs to get out of her way as Eve homes in on her target. These three young, talented performers are physically beautiful, as you would expect with God’s first creation – but have definitely not been cast solely for their looks. They sing, they dance – nice choreography by Director Francesca Goodridge – they act and have they a really special chemistry between them that comes across the footlights and ensures that the audience loves them all.
Summing up then, Adam & Eve… And Steve is a great musical that, unless God has a better sense of humour than we have been led to believe, is not going to help anyone ascend to heaven come the trumpet sounding of the Book of Revelations. But to be honest, you will have had such a wonderful time with this extremely fun production, you won’t care. A definite must see for anyone with a sense of humour, a love of theatre and a disregard for eternity.
Review by Terry Eastham
‘Adam & Eve….and Steve’ makes its London debut at the Kings Head, Islington from 21st March for a 5 week run. This toe-tapping, warm-hearted new musical delivers laugh-out-loud moments in abundance and turns the age-old story of The Garden of Eden completely on its head. The show is set to delight audiences and critics alike after a hugely successful Edinburgh Fringe Festival run last August.
God’s plan to create Adam and Eve goes deliciously wrong when the mischievous Beelzebub interferes, and God creates Steve instead of Eve. Adam is delighted with Steve (who thinks he is a woman called St. Eve) and all is harmonious until the two new BFFs are confronted by Eve herself. A ménage a trois for the modern era ensues, and the future of humankind hangs in the balance as everyman Adam, loveable OTT Steve and jealous Eve try to sort out their tangled emotions….
21st March – 29th April 2017