Oh, the small-town family reunions. You can detest them, you can fear them, but you just must go. And this wedding is a rough one. The bride’s sister, Mairead, can’t stop drinking and saying what’s on her mind while Mairead’s husband, Mal, is searching for Jesus, or so he thinks. You’re invited and you may feel like you need a pint after.

Like every good story, it starts in a local pub. Mairead tells us about her hometown in the Irish midlands while she’s clocking eyes with an old lover. It’s interesting already and even those without an inch of imagination won’t need to see the characters Janet Moran is brilliantly describing in a witty, sharp-tongued way, without rolling any punches.

While the hilarious and raw story of a struggling marriage written by Eugene O’Brien may seem like something that’s been done many times before, the brilliance of it lies in a non-deceptive, getting-straight-to-it attitude. It feels refreshingly sober and naked, just like the stage in which Zia Bergin-Holly fit perfectly into this unpretentious monologue between two people who seem to be drifting away from each other. 

They seem to be drifting from each other, but both are matter-of-factly aware of why they are in this position while looking for their own versions of heaven. For one, it may seem like rekindling an old love and for the other breaking a pattern of a responsible husband and following urges which usually stay in a safe world of dreams, hidden by the dark of the night. Andrew Bennett is hysterical and warm in his performance of Mal who decides to become the main character in his own life for this one night. Where can that lead a man who usually doesn’t drink but finds himself in a car snorting coke? You really want to find out this one. 

Jim Culleton directs Heaven in a perfect symphony between two protagonists who, from the very beginning, are separated – never on stage together, never a dialogue between them. The monologues are strongly written, performed, and directed, making this the perfect choice and metaphor for the married couple who seem to be living separate lives. 

As Mal says at one point, “Surely it has to be leading to somewhere” which is a great summary of those two characters pretty much running around like headless chickens for one night before the dawn wakes them up and they have to choose where it all leads. The only spoiler I can afford is to say that it definitely doesn’t lead to heaven.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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