Last Updated on 10th August 2023
Paul T Davies reviews Eugene O’Brien’s play Heaven at the Traverse Theatre presented as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe
9 August 2023
Mairead and Mal return to her home town for a wedding and their secret desires become exposed, revealing the cracks in their long relationship. She sleeps with an old flame, deciding to leave with him. A closeted homosexual, Mal finds intimate moments with a wedding guest that also fulfil his Jesus desires. Falling off the wagon and indulging in drugs and alcohol, Mal too comes to a decision.
Eugene O’Brien’s play is inspired by Brian Friel, and uses the great Irish play structure of alternating monologues, each character speaking to us directly. As Mairead, Janet Moran is unafraid to lean into the less likeable aspects of her character, flaws and all, yet evokes sympathy for the years of lost passion. Andrew Bennett is superb as Mal, a decent man trying to live his life within the strict teachings of the church, being offered a final chance to live an authentic life.
Beautifully written, their voices seduce the audience into listening, and layers are revealed with excellent timing.