On my first visit to the Hen and Chickens Theatre in Highbury, a comfortingly intimate venue, I had prepared myself for a colourful if (honestly) slightly patronising retelling of the creation story. My presumptions were quickly shot down as I entered the performance space, greeted by the original power couple with the iconic apple already on stage – building tension and awkwardly figuring how to best start the story.
The play starts strongly, giving the audience a neat balance of the original story we all know, and the new kitchen-sink drama writer Marie Myrie has created. Adam (James Vincent) and Eve (Marie-Angela Myrie) make a somewhat odd match on stage. Thomas-Strachan’s energy is casual and sarky, contrasted by Vincent’s highly energetic enthusiasm – this polarity works nicely in moments, but can give the impression our actors are not entirely together in the play.
As the story progresses, we get hints of a nicely observed crisis between a genuine husband and wife but muddy dialogue seems to dilute pivotal moments. Everyone enjoyed Eve’s outburst, chucking red wine in her hubby’s face, but a lack of investment in these tense landmarks seemed to leave the actions hollow, and the audience lost.
This lack of clarity unfortunately seems to get progressively messier as the plot turns to a rather strange pantomime of murderers. A cocktail of euphemisms, red lights and a ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ style dinner starts to turn the drama into uncomfortable comedy.
All in all this play offers a strong concept and some lovely performances, but feels unfinished. The dialogue needs to be focussed and refined, and the bare bones of this drama given a boost of confidence and charisma.