Edinburgh Fringe 2016
Excellent performances and well-constructed songs hold the attention in this musical farce.
Adam & Eve and Steve is (unsurprisingly) set at the dawn of creation. Beelzebub has been kicked out of heaven and in a game of one-upmanship with God (or Fred, as he calls him), he intervenes in the creation of man, and adds Steve into the mix. This is an all-singing, all-dancing musical, and opens with Beelzebub informing the audience of his intentions through the medium of song.
The set is well-designed, with four moveable green fences providing the setting of the garden of Eden. Also present are a tree of knowledge and a scattering of tree stumps. Finally, there is a hedge through which our Beelzebub enters and exits. It’s clearly labelled “Hell”. Adam is dressed as you would expect for the Garden of Eden – in a pair of underpants made of leaves. Steve and Eve are also dressed in similar manner, while the Beelzebub sports a dark suit. God, when he appears, is dressed in a pure white suit, though his contribution to the story is mainly provided by voiceover. The pianist is also present on stage. Taking place in the auditorium, the show has the blessing of a full lighting rig, which was used to good effect, moving from dark to light as each scene decreed.
The songs are undoubtedly the show’s strongest attribute, and many of them could have been pulled from any major West End show. The show is one hour 15 minutes long, and the songs became stronger as the show went on. Each song carried the storyline forward, and vocal performances are stunning. Performances are strong all around, and the show definitely benefits from live musical accompaniment.
Unfortunately the plot is slightly tedious in parts, never really taking us anywhere unexpected. There are many laugh out loud moments, but these are counter-balanced by a high number of painfully obvious jokes and base college humour. Celebrity references are ten-a-penny, not cleverly constructed, and occasionally drift into panto territory. There was a tangible feeling of “Did he really just say that that?” within the audience when God appears near the end to deliver a moral in a clumsy, preachy manner.
Musicals often follow a standard format, and as a result I had figured this one out very early on. That said, this is a fun play, and only the most stoney-faced observer could fail to enjoy it. The audience laughed and applauded enthusiastically in all the right places, and songs and performances were strong enough to create engagement in a very average script.
A show with high production values and strong performers, Adam and Eve and Steve is a recommended as a fun night out for fans of camp musical theatre.