“I’m processing this…”
There aren’t many modern plays that take their inspiration from Jane Eyre, but then Broken Silence Theatre aren’t your average theatre company. Written by Tim Cook and directed by Paul Macauley, Adam & Eve takes several familar tropes – and turns them on their head. Jeannie Dickinson and Christopher Adams play the eponymous couple who first meet at university – opposites, yet complementary to each other. Years later, Eve works as an estate agent while Adam works as an English teacher. Before long, they follow the rites of passage of most couples – buying their first property, expecting their first child… and having their first test to their marriage.
Sensing something’s amiss with her husband, Eve finds out there have been some allegations relating to Adam and Nikki (Anuschka Rapp) – one of his students. Regardless of Eve’s feelings, the circumstantial evidence looks incontrovertible, leading her to wonder if she ever really knew her husband or if they have a future together…
By making Adam in tune with women’s issues and teaching the 21st century relevance of Jane Eyre, the play poses further questions about his sincerity. It also adds another layer of tension to the proceedings – especially in light of a well-known celebrity recently who despite having staunch feminist credentials, has been outed as having had several affairs.
The discourse between the couple feels natural and even with what the audience knows, the play leaves them guessing as to the true nature of events. Indirectly, the audience sees things from Eve’s perspective, and the events that transpire are driven by their relationship and the desire to find the truth.
It’s a sign of a good play where relationships dictate the chain of events from beginning to end and the conclusion is emotionally satisfying. Just don’t necessarily expect a ‘happy ever after’…
© Michael Davis 2017
Adam & Eve ran at Brockley Jack Studio Theatre from 29th August to 2nd September.