Does anything turn guys off—and girls on—more than the word “commitment”? That’s the unhilarious premise of All Aboard the Marriage Hearse, an utterly conventional battle-of-the-sexes play by Matt Morillo at Theater for the New City. Under the guise of a 21st-century values debate, the comedy offers the stunningly fresh proposition that men might come from Mars and women, perhaps, from Venus.
Sean—a fine-looking young writer who has attained success at The New Yorker
after being fired from The Village Voice—and his pretty girlfriend Amy return home from a friend’s wedding. She wants to get hitched; he doesn’t. Both double-talk to cover their feelings—or at least to look rational.
Morillo smartly inserts a major reversal: When Amy abruptly adopts the male point of view, it leaves Sean exposed and vulnerable and the moral masks fall off. But despite winsome performances from Nicholas J. Coleman and Jessica Durdock, the circuitous debates make this two-hander clunky. Sean pretentiously quotes William Blake— the source of the title—but the play actually resembles a bad sitcom written by George Bernard Shaw.