Above – Noel Hodda & Helen O'Connor. Cover – Helen O'Connor & Louisa Panucci. Photos – Danielle Lyonne.

I can’t come.

This is the arresting opening line of Stephen Sewell’s new play, The Lives of Eve.

Sylvia has booked herself into psychoanalyses with Eve, a Freudian and a Lacanian. Sylvia has been attracted by the idea of the talking cure. No wonder. She is very loquacious. Sylvia talks about boyfriends and school days, lesbian liaisons and naughty nuns. Eve mostly listens. Sometimes prodding, sometimes provoking.

Session over, Eve returns to her house and husband, Paul, full of bonhomie, genuinely interested in her day but chiding of her tendency to bring work home. Eve is receiving visitation from her deceased mother, Madeline, whose ashes contained in a decorative urn adorn the mantelpiece together with Eve and Paul’s wedding photo, an adjacency that does not sit well with the parent apparition.

Writing in an atmosphere thick with ideas about love, sexuality, art, poetry and time, Sewell swells the play with erudite verbosity, vernacular vetoed by academic parlance. Nonetheless, for the first Act at least, it is compelling. Some of the Shavian didactics could have been shaved, some of the implications may muddy the melodramatic waters, while the second Act hinges on a supreme improbability, conjectured as coincidence.

Helen O’Connor brings Eve to life in fiery, flinty conflict, flaming, flaring and sometimes frosty, a prisoner of her own interior. Louisa Panucci delivers a bravura performance as Sylvia, a realisation of the robust and the fragile.

Noel Hodda festers frustration as Eve’s flummoxed spouse, a designer of warehouses harbouring a sub conscious edifice complex. And Annie Byron conjures as Eve’s mother’s ghost, offering posthumous paternal advice and libations from the hereafter.

Set and Costume by Hannah Yardley presents an intriguing schemata, with a couch centre stage surrounded by Persian rugs on floor, wall and ceiling.

Event details

White Box in association with bAKEHOUSE Theatre presents
The Lives of Eve
by Stephen Sewell

Director Kim Hardwick

Venue: KXT on BROADWAY | 181 Broadway, Ultimo NSW
Dates: 27 October - 11 November 2023
Tickets: $35 – $45
Bookings: www.kingsxtheatre.com


Related Articles

The Ballad of Maria Marten | New Theatre The Ballad of Maria Marten | New Theatre
The events depicted in The Ballad of Maria Marten have a harrowing resonance to contemporary society, particularly the sharp end of domestic violence that women face...
Banging Denmark | New Theatre Banging Denmark | New Theatre
It’s all about the hunt...
Home Country + The One | Little Cup Theatre Productions Home Country + The One | Little Cup Theatre Productions
Two new works presented as a double feature provide somewhat of a highlight in the current Sydney Fringe Festival...

Most read Sydney reviews

  • Miss Saigon | Opera Australia
    There really isn’t a moment when we believe there is going to be a happy ending, but the incredible music keeps us sitting in the carriage as we careen perilously towards the inevitable train wreck of an ending.
  • Home Country + The One | Little Cup Theatre Productions
    Two new works presented as a double feature provide somewhat of a highlight in the current Sydney Fringe Festival.
  • Dog Man the Musical | CDP Theatre Producers
     Dog Man will have you giggling at the ridiculous antics of an unlikely hero.
  • Wicked The Musical
    The staging is spectacular, and this production has somehow managed to add additional layers of texture and style into the design that refreshes the experience.
  • City of Angels | Hayes Theatre
    City of Angels is a big bold sexy production with lots of style, lots of laughs, and an incredible collection of wonderful performers and musicians that deliver this complex score with real conviction.

More from this author