You hear about it on the news but can never actually imagining it happening. One of the characters in Tim Cook’s Adam & Eve, currently at the Hope Theatre, makes the same assertion. Yet, an inappropriate teacher/student relationship is a playwright’s dream, allowing a host of plot twists and shocking moments to be played out. Cook is though, far subtler in his exploration of this taboo subject.
You know from the outset that things have gone sour in a relationship, and the reason for the breakdown unfolds in tantalising morsels of quick paced, and slivered dialogue. We are very quickly taken back to the beginning, and the first meeting when the couples very names seem to suggest that this relationship is just destined to be.
Estate Agent, Eve and teacher, Adam are enjoying these early stages; planning for a family and buying a house in the country, but soon their idyllic life in their own little garden of Eden turns sour, and the audience is kept guessing throughout whether Adam really did take a bite of the apple.
Nikki is one of Adam’s students, she’s new to town and getting herself into trouble, spending more and more time in detention with her young and handsome teacher. Nikki makes ‘accusations’ against Adam and as the evidence mounts up it seems impossible not to believe her story, if it weren’t for the niggling doubts Cook has planted and laced throughout the story.
This blistering play is gripping from start to finish, with director Jennifer Davis maintaining a vice-like tension throughout. Nikki’s (Melissa Parker) confidence, blended with vulnerability, set against Adam’s (Lee Knight) evasiveness seems, on the face of it, to tie Adam & Eve’s plot up in a nice little bow. Eve’s (Jeannie Dickinson) desire to believe her husband, and ask questions only when absolutely necessary leaves the audience deliberately frustrated and looking for answers.
The big reveal does come, much to the relief of the audience who have been drawn in to this sixty-five-minute drama. On finding out the truth, it becomes obvious that so many little clues were there all along, if only we had chosen to look a little deeper in to Tim Cook’s layers of writing.
Adam & Eve sizzles with tensions and suspense, keeping the audience hooked. It could easily have turned in to a predictable teacher and student relationship story, but instead it examines a host of other issues in a relatively concise manner. The consequences of discovering the true snake in such a story are devastating and startling, with huge ramifications for today’s society.