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BWW Reviews: Deliriously Funny ADAM & EVE AND STEVE Comes to NoHo

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Adam & Eve and Steve/written by Chandler Warren/musical composer: Wayne Moore/directed by Ronnie MarmoTheatre 68 at/NoHo Arts Center/through August 30

A humorous take on the biblical version of creation as told through the rantings of dueling Beelzebug and God is the award-winning world premiere musical Adam & Eve and Steve, a Fringe Festival winner, now onstage through the summer under the auspices of Theatre 68 at the NoHo Arts Center. The show with a cast of five and evenly directed by Ronnie Marmo turns out to be quite deliriously clever entertainment.

Beelzebug, "the Devil" (Weton Nathanson) sets the scene in the Garden of Eden and introduces us to Adam (Michael Spaziani) and Yves (Jotape Lockwood), reversing the expected heterosexual coupling. This allows for some hilarious interplay in the dialogue, written by Chandler Warren, as well as in the songs penned by Wayne Moore. The Devil wants to have his way and win the neverending struggle, stealing the scene for the rest of eternity, but the voice of God (William Knight) keeps him in check and very soon Eve (Kelley Dorney) catapults onto the scene creating chaos for the two boys... who have gotten to explore and like each other, even though they do not yet understand 'sex'. They only know that it is forbidden in Eden. So we're presented with a triangle: Adam & Yves (afterward called Steve to avoid confusion), or Adam and Eve? Eve, of course, is domineering and strong, takes a bite out of the apple and starts wooing Adam to the consternation and anger of Steve, who wants his man/friend Adam and will pull out all the stops to nab him.

If it sounds schlocky, believe me, it isn't. Yes, there is silliness, it is campy, but also creatively smart utilizing some terribly enjoyable political and religious jibes. Two elements grabbed me. First, there are the verbal assaults between God and the Devil which turn into a deliciously theatrical encounter more than halfway through the one-act, when God makes an appearance. They dish and spar with one another like two vaudevillian divas and even manage a pleasant soft show number entitled "Song and Dance Man". God talks frankly about his lack of presence from the issues of the world, so how can anyone say that he is in fact against homesexuality? He tells Steve that he does care about him and that in time, as the gay man finds himself, his time, his success will come ("I Found Me"). This leads into the other element of Warren's script that is so endearing...the question of love ("A World Without Love" "What Love Is"). Eve cannot understand Adam's attraction to Steve, especially after both she and Adam have eaten the apple, and Steve is equally perplexed as the guy thing seems the most natural pleasure ("Choose Me"). It's a competition that works out as it must be in the end, but with Steve not losing, in fact, ...he comes out quite the winner. Once again, thanks to Warren's astute writing and Moore's bright catchy tunes.

As to the ensemble, it's a winning combination of five great triple threat performers. Under Ronnie Marmo's smooth and stylish direction, Spaziani makes a sexy, appealing Adam. Dorney counters him beautifully with Eve's quick wit and biting female perspective. Lockwood is a friggin' scream as Steve. His physical comedy is a mix of Jim Carrey, Sean Hayes and Jerry Lewis all rolled into one. It's a great comic performance! Nathanson outdoes himself as the demon and Knight is appropriately direct and sensible especially in his exchanges about Steve's plight and his future. Tim Drier's set is simple and engaging as are the costumes - or lack thereof - for the three principals.

Go and see Adam & Eve and Steve for the sheer hell of it! Whoever's side you're on, it doesn't matter; you'll have a heavenly time!

www.theatre68.com


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