Note: This review is from the 2015 Fringe

@ theSpace on Niddry St, Edinburgh, until Sat 29 Aug 2015 (times vary)

University of Birmingham’s 3Bugs return to Edinburgh Fringe with their play, Paradise: Lost. Founded with the primary purpose of taking productions to Edinburgh Festival Fringe each year, this August the student society boasts an impressive cast of five, in a dark tale by Hannah Aldridge about temptation, seduction and the lust for life.

Based on John Milton’s classical account of the Fall of Man, the play focuses on Adam and Evelyn, a young couple living in the dystopian, yet seemingly paradisiac world of Eden. In their bedroom, where the story takes place, they are subjected to daily checks on whether they are fullfilling the main purpose of their existence – to give life to offspring. However, a mysterious telephone is constantly ringing, as if to test their submissive nature, and to sow the seed of doubt in them: ‘There‘s got to be more than this.’

The performance fascinates, not only with eloquent acting (an especially big bravo goes to Evelyn), but also with the richness of the text. Cleverly making references to 1984, the concept of panopticon, or even pop-cultural phenomenon The Hunger Games, it provides plenty of food for thought on larger-than-life themes, such as: what role do we play in our own lives? To what extent are we, as individuals, in control of our own destiny? How far does our freedom of choice spread?

The final scene is left with a slightly confusing open ending, which sets more questions than it gives answers. Afterwards, you will most probably find yourselves in a lingering state of existential doubt, despair, with a flickering bit of hope, or a mix of the three, but will most certainly not leave the venue indifferent.