For their latest production, the intrepid regulars at the Old Port Playhouse have decided to get down to basics with a musical take on an old story that will nonetheless resonate with just about anyone who looks across the kitchen table at a life partner.

With book and music by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, “Adam & Eve … And What Really Happened In The Garden of Eden” is a tuneful and humorous piece based on Mark Twain’s “The Diary of Adam & Eve.”

Clocking in at just one hour, the most obvious criticism of the show is that it’s over too quickly. But brevity may be a good thing, considering that wanting more is what got the title characters into trouble.

Michael J. Tobin, the director, takes the lead male role. At Sunday’s matinee, Tobin quickly reminded a substantial crowd why he’s so good at comedic roles that allow him to indulge in a certain likable brattiness.

When his enjoyment of the “just-made smell” of Eden is disrupted by the arrival of a strange “new creature” who likes to talk a lot, he tries to fight off the growing feeling that he finds her “interesting.”

Janelle Doak Mosey, who was so good in the Playhouse’s production of “Cinderella,” brings her mischievous eyes and playful manner to the role of Eve.

She’s quick to assert that she’s usually right while Adam is usually wrong, a point he is willing to accept by play’s end. But she takes some fateful bad advice herself from the nimble-tongued Snake, played by Jeffrey Caron.

Musical Director James Colby again does a fine job, giving Mosey a chance to shine on tunes such as “Here In Eden” and “Friends” before closing with “What Makes Me Love You,” a delightful duet with Tobin.

Tobin holds his own with vocals on “Eve” and “It’s A Fish.” Caron’s big moment comes on “Forbidden Fruit” as he entices Eve with his sinister logic.

Confusion over whether it is apples or chestnuts that cause The Fall is but one of the delicious bits of Twain-ish humor that make this little show fun.

There are babies that bite and beds full of fishes and some not-so-subtle double entendres to keep things lively.

Although brief, the show gives a largely entertaining glimpse into a fun place we might all have visited.

 

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.