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Review: Eden, at Hampstead Theatre

Echoes of Donald Trump's Scottish golf course controversy in play that's about more than an arrogant and ruthless developer

02 March, 2019 — By Howard Loxton

Michael Simkins and Yolanda Kettle in Eden. Photo: Robert Day

HANNAH Patterson’s new play presents an American building a luxury golf course on the British coast that is going to endanger a site of special scientific interest. Does that sound familiar?

But this isn’t Trump’s Robert the Bruce course: it isn’t in Scotland. Michael Simkins’ Chase isn’t a marmalade-haired caricature, though he may share Trump’s ideas about business and power and he sends one of his staff, born in the area, to soften up the locals.

It might be a good career move for Sophie (Yolanda Kettle) but it isn’t a job she relishes.

Chief objector Bob is an old friend, he pretty well brought her up; his daughter Jane, her lover until she moved away, is the geomorphologist who advised the council against a development which could encroach on the dunes and their protected habitat.

Eden isn’t just about an arrogant and ruthless developer, it’s about loyalties and what is really important.

Sean Jackson is moving as Bob, principled, caring and stubborn, and Mariah Gale captures the pathos of Jane, equally adamant but afraid of having her heart broken twice.

Matthew Xia’s traverse production is strikingly simple to focus on excellent performances that capture the nuances in relationships, of love for others and for the land.

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