There is some very good news at The York Theatre. The elevator is working. As is the air conditioning. Their new production of “Falling For Eve” however is another story. And I mean that quite literally. It is a brand new take on Adam and Eve with a wise and witty book by Joe DiPietro and perky but hardly memorable music (jazz waltz, power ballad, Calypso etc.) by Bret Simmons and sometimes successful lyrics by David Howard – whose play “Adam Alone” is the basis of this trouble in paradise creation.
A creation that utilizes a male God (Adam Kantor) and a female God (Sasha Sloan) – after all we are all made in His/Her image aren’t we? With two angels, Sarah (Jennifer Blood) and Michael (Nehal Joshi) as narrators and who take a leap of faith and fall in love with each other while wide eyed and innocent Adam (Jose Llana) baring all from the back post creation and looking fit as Tarzan in his loincloth tries his best to obey and not eat the forbidden fruit that the all too curious Eve (Krystal Joy Brown) is unable to resist resulting in her banishment to the cold cruel world where she ages and faces the fact that one day she will die.
All this on another interesting set design by Beowulf Boritt that appears to be a three dimensional nucleus of an atom or the Universe or a design inspired by the short and oval shaped overly sprayed hairdo of the woman I was sitting behind. It works. As does the lighting by Herrick Goldman and the costumes by Bobby Pearce.
What doesn’t work as well is the show. It seems as if the score was written and they brought in Joe DiPietro to make use of his particular brand of humor and expertise that have earned him a Tony and a league of deserved fans. If only the lyrics were in the same universe as the book. Late in the ninety minute show we get an exciting revival-like list song “Good Things Are A Comin'” and finally it all seems to be coming together – music, lyric and the book. But it is short lived.
The best performer is Jose Llana and I am afraid without his presence the show might just fall apart. It’s a shame that director Larry Raben aborts the ending of his big number “Eve” depriving Mr. Llana of his much deserved applause. He has a sweet and clear and powerful voice that is wonderful and we can believe in his innocence. Ms. Brown as Eve is a bit forced, looking like a young Diana Ross which is not a bad thing in itself and belts well. The other characters are really cut outs looking for some depth. They do the best with what they are given and that isn’t much.
With the exception of the biting edge, unexpected and off beat humor of Mr. DiPietro “Falling For Eve” falls a bit flat.
www.yorktheatre.org Photo: Carol Rosegg