REVIEW: CHILDREN OF EDEN (The Union Theatre) ★★


Children Of Eden is the re-telling of the story of the book of Genesis. The show premiered in the West End twenty five years ago, where is ran for just three months and received little praise. The show is now being staged at the new Union Theatre in the heart of Southwark.

The Union Theatre is a newly built studio space, directly opposite its previous home where it has recently moved from. The simple space is a black box covered with a lighting grid. Unfortunately, despite being newly built there is no air conditioning and was unbearably hot and stuffy which detracted from focusing on the performance.

Children of Eden has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (most famously known for Wicked and Godspell) and based on the book by John Caird. Described as a heartfelt and humorous tale on “what it means to be a parent”, I presume that the play was trying to express what is written in the Old Testament in more human and less metaphysical terms. This was done by referring to Adam and Eve’s “creator” as their father, rather than God. Sadly, what they have succeeded in doing was to strip out all the literary elements and replace it with poorly expressed literalism.

The lyrics to the songs are generally adult and literate and the tunes are in the main reasonable, if not particularly memorable. The singing of much of the cast was discordant and not anywhere near to being up to West End standards and sadly, with one or two exceptions the acting was abysmal.

So where is the fault, if there is one? Maybe it was the uncomfortable heat, maybe the length of the show or just maybe the poor performances. One thing that is clear though is why this show has seldom been performed in the last twenty five years.

Reviewed by Graham Archer

Photo: Scott Rylander

CHILDREN OF EDEN plays at The Union Theatre until 10 September 2016