Children of Eden, Union Theatre | Review

Saturday 13 August 2016

Children of Eden
Union Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 12th August 2016 by Olivia Mitchell

Inspired by the Book of Genesis, Children of Eden tells the timeless and beautiful story of bringing a child into the world and becoming a parent. It features stunning music and lyrics by acclaimed composer Stephen Schwartz,  who is perhaps most well known for Wicked which continues to play all over the world, and a book by the fantastic John Caird who along with Trevor Nunn, adapted and directed Les Miserables.

The Union Theatre provides an intimate, naturalistic setting for this beautiful musical which was an unfortunate flop when it opened 25 years ago. The story which is anything but a flop 25 years later is staged simply, peacefully and magnificently.

The score really shines in this production, with a band of only four (led by Inga Davis-Rutter) and a fairly small cast, the audience really feel a part of the music. There are beautiful ballads and faster moving pieces with feelings of all genres, the jazzy In Pursuit of Excellence sung by the seductive snake (played by Gabriel Mokake) is a stand out of act one. Each piece feels fresh and vibrant, from the soaring solos to the rousing cast numbers, the gospel feel makes you want to praise and dance and sing for love!

Natasha O'Brien is truly a star in this production. From when she first enters as the newborn, knowledge-hungry Eve, she commands the stage. Her voice effortlessly glides and she masterfully manages to show the knowledge-hungry, loving Eve in act 1 and the extremely contrasting, larger than life Mama Noah in act 2.

Joey Dexter as Father adds a how new meaning to the bible stories; humanising the usually mystical figure and adding a new layer to this heartfelt examination of love and what it means to be a parent. This is a wonderful story of love, sin, forgiveness and just the mysteries and trials we face in life. 

As a huge musical theatre fan I'm surprised I'd never actually heard the score of this beautiful musical but I am so glad I now know it- its already been added to my stagey playlist!

This is a musical for theatre super-fans and casual theatre goers alike. In true biblical style it has left me wanting to shout its praises from the mountains and I'm sure it will leave you feeling the same!
*I received a press ticket to this show, all views and opinions are my own*