REVIEW: All Aboard the Marriage Hearse (Gilded Balloon Teviot) ★★★★


All Aboard the Marriage Hearse, a play by Matt Morillo, receives its UK premiere at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The play premiered in New York in 2008 and prompted a public debate between Morillo and a renowned marriage counsellor on the institution of marriage. This production sees Morillo return to the director’s chair and Jessica Moreno reprise the part of Amy, the role she played in the 2008 debut.

This is the tale of Sean and Amy, co-habiting thirty-somethings in New York. We meet them returning home after yet another of Amy’s friend’s weddings where Amy has caught the bouquet and Sean caught the garter.

The drunken post-wedding conversation leads to a gamble between the couple; they agree to debate for the last time whether or not they should get married. After four years together, Amy is keen to get married, while Sean believes that “marriage is Santa Claus for adults” and has said as much repeatedly in his New Yorker columns. Will this be the night they break up for good or jump on the “marriage hearse” as Sean describes matrimony?

Jessica Moreno and Tom Pilutik play Amy and Sean as a convincing couple. They make the conversations between the long-term partners realistic; they know how to wind each other up and push all the right buttons then, when their barbed comments hit home, the emotions kick in with the realisation that this debate is make or break for their relationship. Will either of them be prepared to compromise on their convictions to stay together?

This play packs a lot of emotion into the short running time and provides a thoughtful debate on the institution of marriage in the modern world. I spotted some knowing glances exchanged between the couples in the audience.

All Aboard the Marriage Hearse plays at the Gilded Balloon Teviot until 29 August 2016 (not 15th).

Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans