Little Eden is inspired by 1950s science fiction invasion narratives: characters don skirt suits and brown jackets, 50s radio pulses in the background. It begins, clearly, as a fond pastiche. And in that role, it works well. Liam Farmer as Reverend and omniescent narrator has a Pushing Daisies tone to his delivery, quirky and wry. His narration works best when main character Jim (Ross Fletcher) attempts to resist the pull of narration, a fun meta touch that is used sparingly.
There is physical comedy aplenty, particularly as a result of Jim’s inept terror, and the inclusion of a couple of filmed scenes makes the most of the small stage space, which is something the actors slightly struggle with otherwise. Lilith (Sophia Miller de Vega) has some of the overblown menace of The Rocky Horror Picture Show via the Slitheen from Doctor Who, a reptilian smirk that plays well. It is here that Little Eden does best – in the realm of trip falls and knowing narration. However, when it attempts to depart from its campy, B-Movie roots, it falls down.
It doesn’t help that the premise makes little sense; a world controlled by symbols may sound grandiose, but that’s essentially what our world already is. It is challenging to make coherent socio-political points in any kind of devised work, but especially one that is drawing on the heavy-handed moral position of 50s Hollywood science fiction. Its pronouncements on religion, society and politics have all the pseudo-profound clunkiness of a Dan Brown novel. They feel obvious and only serve as an irritation, a distraction. A little more focus on the comedy, a little less attempt to take down the church and government in 45 minutes, and Neon Peach Theatre could really have something good on their hands.