Theatre review: All Aboard The Marriage Hearse

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Amy and Sean are a smart Manhattanite couple who have been living together for years. One night, returning from a wedding, their boozy bonhomie gets them frisky but sexual desire leads to thoughts of love, romance leads to exploring possibilities of marriage and… gaaah, why does this always happen?

Star rating: ****

Venue: Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)

It would be an odd couple indeed that didn’t recognise a least a little of themselves in writer-director Matt Morillo’s thoroughly enjoyable two-hander. Sean (Tom Pilutik) is a successful New Yorker columnist but it was Amy who initially got him a job at Vanity Fair and typed his articles for him when he broke his hand so perhaps he should just shut about all his clever, cynical arguments against tying the knot and do something for her for a change?

He really should because, as played by Jessica Moreno, Amy is an irresistible force; it’s an absolute knockout performance from an actress a lucky few may remember from the 2013 Fringe production of Morillo’s The Inventor And The Escort. Moreno’s face is incredibly animated throughout – this is one production that benefits from being in a small venue – yet she never threatens to be simply “making faces”. One minute she’s sexy; then sulky; poutingly sad then genuinely scary, ice-cold with anger. Pilutik does well just to hold his own against this remarkable performance and gives almost as good as he gets with an intelligently restrained turn that provides a fine counterpoint to Moreno’s firecracker.

There is, perhaps needless to say, quite a strong Neil Simon feel to Morillo’s smart script – particularly Simon’s later dramatic works – but that’s no bad thing when you have such a gift of an actress who’s capable of wringing every single laugh from it.

Until 29 August. Today 12.30pm.