EDEN, a brand new psychological drama from the pen of fantasy horror writer Greg Stewart, received its’ premiere this week at the Crescent Theatre as part of Birmingham Fest.
It’s a tense 90-minute thriller in which a notorious self-help guru endeavours to hone his skills on a humble self-effacing attendee at a weekend retreat. All though is not as it seems as the protagonists reel between mind games of chess and snakes and ladders.
Clever stuff indeed – just when you think it’s about to be checkmate, a snake uses a common pawn to unseat the incumbent king – or words to that effect!
Tension hung over the near capacity studio auditorium as we breathed as quietly as possible, lest we missed the next twist.
Will it be suicide, assisted suicide or plain old murder most foul?
Stewart is served well by seasoned director Jonathan Legge who wisely keeps the action minimalistic and meaningful. No one moves without purpose allowing the plot to develop cerebrally, but when action happens – it explodes!
Legge himself has two superb actors to work with in Christopher Hampson as Edgar and Oliver Hume as Mark. Neither falters vocally or physically as they relish taking it in turns to be the cat or the mouse.
What I found particularly pleasing is there was no scriptwriting ‘cop out’ – unlike other new dramas I’ve seen recently both on stage and screen. Stewart gives us a beginning, middle and end so we leave feeling sated, not cheated.
Eden will no doubt go on from the Fest to other theatres – well worth watching out for.