After the Garden is an hilarious play exploring the “real” story behind Adam and Eve’s banishment from the Garden of Eden. Even if you are not entirely familiar with the story from the Book of Genesis, this show will tickle your funny bone from start to finish. Playwright Greg Powell (winner of the 2009 NVTA One Act Festival Award for Best Production of an Original Play and Best Overall Production for Garden of Eden: The True Underdog Story of Peoplekind) returns to a favorite subject in After the Garden, delivering witty, if occasionally raunchy, dialogue and cleverly developed characters, portrayed by a very funny and talented ensemble cast.
The show opens with Adam (Brandon DeGroat) and Eve (Jennifer Reitz), clad in little fig leaf outfits (or in the case of the not-so-brainy Adam a pair of itchy poison sumac undies), lamenting to the Angel Gabriel (Carl Nubile) about God’s (Ted Ballard) decision to eject them from the Garden for eating an apple from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve turns on her sex-pot charms when she tells Adam and Gabriel that a talking snake told her to eat the apple and it really was not her fault. (“Is it a good idea to take advice from a snake?” asks Adam. “Well, better that than an investment banker, stock broker or politician,” Eve cheekily replies.)
Feeling sympathetic to their plight, Gabriel, sporting a shiny Italian suit and a thick Long Island accent, tells Adam and Eve that he will talk to God about possibly letting them stay in the Garden. God, who has been watching the exchange on his laptop’s “God Cam,” angrily refuses to let them stay in the Garden and, thinking that the humans do not respect him, he demands that his advisor, Lucifer (Scott Olson), become Satan so that the humans, in their fear, will turn more to God. Reluctant to take on the evil role, Lucifer, in an hilarious exchange with God, asks God if he cannot just punish Adam and Eve with a well-deserved “time out.”
Meanwhile, Adam and Eve learn the joys of sex in a hilarious scene involving animal skins, give birth to Cain (Sam Rephsas) and Able (portrayed as a sock puppet by Joe Bersack) and teach their sons, much to the delight of God, that everything on earth was made by God. Cain questions the teachings of his parents much to their and God’s disappointment. Cain even tries to offer God homemade vegetarian pizza as a sacrifice instead of the usual: blood of a lamb. It turns out that God prefers Abel’s ultimate meat-lovers pizza (complete with lamb bits). Finally, Cain, in his attempt to please God, kills his sock puppet brother as a sacrifice and is ultimately banished.
The cast members, despite a few minor line flubs, deliver consistent high energy performances that keep the audience laughing. DeGroat is especially engaging as the dim-witted Adam. His gift for physical comedy kept me giggling each time he was on the stage (as did his skimpy loin cloth). Ballard’s God is also a clear stand-out as he lands some of the show’s biggest laughs. Ballard’s comfort on the stage and with his character is clearly evident in his hilarious facial expressions and remarkable comedic timing. I also found particular enjoyment in the on-stage relationship between God and Lucifer, expertly played by Olson.
After the Garden, directed by Lori Muhlstein and Sally Zatkoff, delivers in its bid to make you laugh over and over. If you enjoy clever, though occasionally raunchy comedy, this show is a must see!
Please note: After the Garden is playing at The Clinic, which is a very small venue, located on a second floor and is not air-conditioned. Although they have fans blowing over the audience, be advised that you may end up just as sweaty as the actors on stage by the end of the show.
After the Garden
Written by Greg Powell
Directed by Lori Muhlstein and Sally Zatkoff
Produced by Elissa Hudson
Presented by Tree of Knowledge Productions
Reviewed by Sabrina C. Daly
Running time: 1 hour
Read all the reviews and check out the full Capital Fringe schedule here.
Did you see the show? What did you think?