Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013
We were delighted with the amount of press coverage we got for our Edinburgh run - and as you would expect for a new piece, there were a range of reactions. In the interests of full disclosure, here are all the reviews we could find, including the ones we won't be pulling quotes from!
Edinburgh Evening News
"...fun and real heart", The Stage
British Theatre Guide
"lots of laughs, some good tunes and a happy ending", East Coast FM
"definitely one to watch", DARKCHAT
"...this powerhouse of a performance delights", Musical Theatre Review
So So Gay
The Beast's Pen
- ThreeWeeks, 10 August 2013
Fresh and funny, this original musical turns the oldest story in the book on its head. Set on the morning after the Fall of Man, it follows Adam and Eve as they discover their new world, themselves, and each other—with a little help from friends. The phenomenal cast of six do it all, glorying in simplicity rather than relying on spectacle.
Adapted cleverly from Scripture and pop culture, the folksy songs and witty script do not simply depend on irreverence for laughs, but raise interesting questions about knowledge, sin, and human nature. Toss in a caribou singing about potatoes and a sexy Lucifer, and it’s an uproarious celebration of life, love, and sex. The makings of a real hit!
5/7, Edinburgh Evening News, 15 August 2013
Splendid Productions bring a refreshing, mischievous charm to the tale of man’s first and hardest fall from grace.
Ben Hales’ script takes a while to set up the subject and warm into the characters, but once there, you can’t help but invest in the drama that unfolds as Adam and Eve work out why they’re no longer God’s chosen ones.
Supported by outstanding turns from Gerard McGrath’s sexy Satan, Lawrence Libor’s uptight Archangel and Kerry Frampton’s sublime confused Caribou and really rather randy Tree, Scott Gilmour’s Adam and Claire- Marie Seddon’s Eve have lots of room to develop their parts.
The music is performed by the actors as the story progresses, giving the production an organic feel. A couple of cracking, catchy songs, including the beguiling (This) Morning Has Broken (My Heart), speeds the action along no end.
- one4review.co.uk, 25 August 2013
This was a very funny take on the Adam and Eve story by a highly talented cast. The writing by Ben Hales was excellent with some very witty ideas and themes running throughout the show. Who knew a caribou could be so significant or working out how to kiss so funny! And yes of course, eating the forbidden fruit is one of your five a day right enough!
The six-strong cast are fantastic, from playing animals to the devil, double bass to glock and even the sound effects, they have an infectious energy which you just can’t fail to like. A special mention to Gerard McGrath as a luscious devil and Kerry Frampton as an ad-libbing tree, but everyone had their moment in the spotlight as well as being a tight ensemble.
Costuming was suitably tongue-in-cheek, simple and worked well. The music was excellent too, tuneful and catchy and performed by the actors (sometimes acapella) which worked really well. The singing, often close-harmony, was spot on. I hope this show has a life after the Fringe as it deserves a wider audience.
The Stage, 23 August 2013
To say that Splendid Productions' mischievous musical is more Jerry Springer: The Opera than Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is an understatement.
Adam and Eve: The Musical is a bawdy hour that takes great delight in lampooning the silliness of the story of creation. It may paint in very broad brushstrokes, but it's undoubtedly frothy fun.
It's the morning after the night before. After being evicted from the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve have to come to terms with the real world. An uptight Archangel Oliver is on hand to give advice while naughty Lucifer delights in his new found playthings.
The characters are pretty two dimensional and some of the jokes are carried on far too long. But there's a lot to like about Ben Hales' catchy new musical. Hales' folky score - particularly This Morning Has Broken My Heart - is fun and has real heart. Performed by a cast of six actor-musicians it has a whimsical and organic feel.
The energetic cast are charming. Kerry Frampton displays excellent comic timing as the befuddled Caribou. Perhaps unsurprisingly however, it is Gerard McGrath's Lucifer who steals the show, in a devilishly good performance that would tempt anyone into sin.
- Fresh Fringe, 7 August 2013
With a warm welcome to the world from a cast of energetic performers accompanied by a harmonious melody of ‘All Things Bright’ the audience were made to feel so comfortable in the seats that some of them were even ushered into by the cheery actors. The small stage filled with musical instruments and props that the six strong cast skilfully utilise throughout the entire play highlight their dexterity at being able to switch from instrument to instrument. It is immediately apparent that this is no conventional adaptation of a traditional Bible story. With the first strum of a guitar, the first beat of a bass and the first clash of a xylophone the laugh out loud lyrics confirm that this is a humorous and innovative idea. Adam and Eve the musical. The story of Adam and Eve put to original, contemporary music with The Archangel Oliver, two security guards, Satan and a Caribou. It works so well.
The play begins with Adam and Eve waking up on Earth for the first time after their banishment, by God the day before, from the Garden of Eden. The humorous Archangel Oliver attempts to restore the memories that God erased in order for them to comprehend the consequences of their actions. Adam and Eve are acted well by the actors but can at times feel a little one dimensional. It is ironic for a play based on the Bible that besides the music, one of the best things in it is the character of Lucifer. Gerard McGrath plays the role with such vigour and confidence that every line he delivers is comedy gold. He is a perfectly written and well performed character and his presence grabs the audience attention throughout. His Jack Black-esque solo performance highlights not only his vocal range but that of the entire cast whose perfect harmonies conjoin in unison to create an impressive sound that filled the entire room.
By the second half Adam relishes in the opportunity to become more than the stropping character he was in the first half and delivers an excellent solo performance in the rock and blues inspired ‘Greatest Man Alive’. His attempt at hunting is a particular highlight and the sexual advice Lucifer and a Tree pass onto Adam and Eve is better than any first year Sex Education Class. If there was an opportunity to combine all of these really good scenes together into one sequence the play is able is become a commercial success. The actors can act, very well, they can sing, play their own instruments and the timing and writing are very good. The original music is fresh and appealing and is enough to make you leave singing the songs in your head. A few polishes of the script could see this become a much loved and much talked about show.
- British Theatre Guide, August 2013
Set the morning after the fall of man, Adam and Eve are expelled from Paradise and have to make their own way on Earth. This enthusiastic cast of six are enchanting. They sing and act with confidence and ease and play a variety of instruments.
It is an irreverent, witty look at the Bible story that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is great fun with lots of laughs.
Eve (Claire-Marie Seddon) has to name has to name everything on Earth whilst Adam (Scott Gilmour) is very much the alpha male.
There is a hilarious scene when two security guards in yellow high visibility jackets refuse to let Adam return to Eden.
Kerry Frampton makes a very convincing Caribou who tries to convince Adam to eat a potato rather than her.
Sexy Lucifer (Gerard McGrath) is delighted to be able to influence Adam and Eve, much to the disgust of the righteous Archangel Oliver (Lawrence Libor); their interactions are very funny.
Then there is the awkward, embarrassing discovery of love and sex since the world will need to be populated. But Adam is not quite sure what goes where and Eve is well keen to learn.
Written and composed by Ben Hales with ballads, folk songs and up beat numbers, this is a delightfully whimsical hour well spent.
- Musical Talk, August 2013
A perfect gem of a musical. Good-hearted, good-humoured and a delight.
(You can hear an interview with 'Adam & Eve' creator Ben Hales on Musical Talk podcast 0356)
East Coast FM, 8 August 2013
This new musical comedy is the world premiere and first original production by this talented young company. Adam and Eve wake up the day after the Fall, with no recollection of how they got there and why they are wearing these strange leaves. Archangel Oliver enlightens them as to why God has thrown them out of the Garden of Eden and tells them they must now fend for themselves. The stage is set for a journey of growth and self-discovery as the young couple learn to live with themselves and all the strange new sensations and experiences that face them.
It doesn’t take itself too seriously thank goodness, it’s a light-hearted, irreverent take on this, the most ancient of stories. The audience is welcomed into the auditorium by the cast of six, all dressed in angelic white and clutching cardboard clouds. They launch into “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, in sweet unaccompanied harmony. This is the only song that isn’t one of their own originals. The songs are surprisingly good, with witty lyrics and a range of styles – from the bluesy number by Lucifer to Eve’s more soulful “This Morning Has Broken My Heart” and the comical “Sexual Love”. I reckon “This Morning..” could match any of the hits from the major West End musicals. The musical backing is basic but the talented young cast of actors and singers show their versatility in taking turns on all the instruments.
Props and costumes are also all very basic – a water pistol to represent a waterfall, a blue streamer for the sky – however, they are all part of the fun.
There are some great comic moments – the Security Angels who guard the gate into Eden, the Caribou trying to persuade Adam to eat a potato rather than her, the Tree trying to convince Eve that Adam is hot. Those three examples all feature Kerry Frampton, who is also the company’s Production Director. She is a very funny lady – so funny that she even made Eve have a fit of the giggles in one scene.
All in all, a very pleasant way to spend an hour – lots of laughs, some good tunes and a happy ending.
9.5/10, DARKCHAT, August 2013
Splendid Productions company is not afraid of tackling a big theme -
Adam & Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden - in a musical comedy.
From the opening song "There Was A War In Heaven" it was apparent
the audience were in safe hands and a succession of witty songs and
fast-paced direction ensured the show didn't flag.
The talented cast played multiple roles - Kerry Frampton's "Caribou"
being a particular DARKCHAT favourite and the actors also provided
memorable ad-libbing to cover inevitable prop malfunctions.
The aptly named Splendid Productions is definitely one to watch.
Winner 'Best Music' 2013 DARKCHAT awards.
- The Scotsman, 17 August 2013
My favourite moment in this musical was when a talking caribou stepped away from the script to wake up a man sleeping in the front row. Kerry Frampton, who plays the caribou (and a talking tree in Eden), is a naturally funny performer and her moment of spontenaity was genuinely entertaining.
As well as talking animals and trees, this musical version of the Garden of Eden also has a sleazy but strangely likeable Satan and some excellent jokes.
Tricked by the evil snake, Adam and Eve start having some terrible problems. Both of them keep leaking from their faces, Adam wants to chase and eat the creatures of the Garden and there is something strange stirring under his loincloth.
Some of the performances could do with being toned down a bit. There is too much shouty acting and the leading characters could ham it up a little less. But it’s a silly, frothy entertaining piece of fun which makes some surprisingly thoughtful observations about the human condition.
- The List, Edinburgh, 13 August
While the story of Adam and Eve is not foreign to most people, this musical retelling, with its fair share of knob gags, sexy Satan in Lycra and emphasis on sex, adds a bit of spice to the story. Following the well-known plot of Adam and Eve being kicked out of Eden after being tempted by forbidden fruit, the musical also looks at their lives on Earth, and the realisation that being mortal (and getting aroused) is actually not all that bad.
Although it is slightly slow to start, the introduction of Satan (Gerard McGrath) gets the crowd going. Tail-licking, nipple-pinching, deep-voiced and quite frankly, hilarious, Lucifer embodies temptation perfectly, singing along to loose rhythms and persuading Eve that she is right. Other stereotypes are also dropped in for comic effect. The Tree of Knowledge (who persuades Eve to go back to Adam) has a strong Bristolian accent and the two Security Angels are called Trevor and Bob.
Some jokes are played out too far – there is an entire section devoted to Eve naming the animals and getting it wrong (a rabbit is not a bucket) – but on the whole, the crowd is kept entertained. From Adam (Scott Gilmour) and Eve’s (Claire-Marie Seddon) first kiss being on the chin (of course, they didn’t know how) to Archangel Oliver (Lawrence Libor) having a crush on Satan, Adam and Eve: The Musical keeps it far from dry.
- Fest, Edinburgh, 16 August 2013
With The Book of Mormon and even Jerry Springer: The Opera having reinvigorated the religion-imbued musical in recent years, one wonders—especially as we tread the beer-soaked floors of a venue that usually acts as Edinburgh University's Student Union—what riot inducing controversy Adam and Eve: The Musical might hurl our way. But aside from a few risqué penis references and one slightly over-zealous snog (save your enthusiasm for a post-lunchtime crowd, kids), there (sadly) isn't much of that at all. Adam and Eve: The Musical is a fairly straight-forward but silly and ultimately entertaining retelling of the Genesis story.
The characters are likably portrayed by the small cast of six. Gerard McGrath's lovably wicked, nonchalant Lucifer—something like the antihero in Disney movie, but with more hip-thrusting—is especially worth seeing, while the advisory role adopted by a sexually fustrated talking tree (played by Kerry Frampton) becomes the most entertaining of the supporting characters. The musical component, composed by Ben Hales, consists of functional, well-executed pastiches. "Sexual Love," for example, is reminiscent of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," while ‘(This) Morning Has Broken (My Heart)’ feels like a Carole King ballad.
Adam and Eve: The Musical is nothing revolutionary – it is simply a light-hearted, slightly camp retelling of The Fall in a modern vernacular. It follows the pair as they learn to adjust to the world beyond the Garden of Eden – a world full of comedy pain, talking wildlife and of course, sexual organs. A spirited and entertaining start to any festival-goer's day.
Musical Theatre Review, 11 August 2013
Adam and Eve is a new musical theatre piece written and composed by Ben Hales, with witty cutout designs by Kerry Frampton. They are both part of the company of six with Splendid Productions.
The show presented me with a problem. Is this a show for younger audiences? There are times when it feels like gentle storytelling for those who may not know the story of the Fall of Man and the acquisition of knowledge. Light, charming, bold characters would seem more appealing to the six-plus age range.
But then the show moves to tackle “the greatest gift of heaven above – sexual love” and we are in very different territory. So Honk! meets Hair is a challenge. Although this is an ensemble piece of storytelling it is rightly dominated by a great devilish performance by Gerard McGrath as Lucifer – they say the devil has the best tunes and this powerhouse of a performance delights. Definitely a creative team, and a cast, to keep watching.
- So So Gay, August 2013
It's sometimes difficult to give a great show at the Fringe if you're not in a specifically designed theatrical space. The poor cast of Adam and Eve are showcasing themselves on a makeshift stage in the tiny corner of a nightclub, with no lighting or proper sound, meaning that the script and performances need to do all the selling. Unfortunately, this is where it all goes a bit sticky. The script can't really decide whether it's a farcical children's show or a late night cabaret. The performances are loud and gutsy, but everything is overacted tremendously - probably because they've been told to project over the faint whiff of last night's Barcadi Breezers. That being said, the songs are catchy, if not a little random, and Kerry Frampton as a sexually aggressive tree steals the entire show.
- The Beast's Pen, 16 August 2013
Who gives a fig leaf?