As I am a recovering Catholic, the title of this play alone could have been enough to keep me away. How glad I am that it did not.
The problem with liking a show is that you run out of good ways to say "terrific" and "excellent actors." So here I am all a-dither. First of all, what a pleasant surprise to discover that Janel Moloney can act. Sure, she was terrific in West Wing when she worked in the office of the President who we really wanted in the White House. But so often actors who do well on TV or in film don't know their heads from their tails when it comes to theatre.
Moloney not only knows, she makes it look easy. She portrays Theresa, the mother of a teenage girl whose hormones have nearly dissolved her brain cells. This teenager is a remarkable creation as played by Zoe Kazan. So remarkable that you want to sweep onto the stage and shake her till her tiny teeth rattle.
Faced with this brittle and way too honest child, Theresa seeks some solace from the man whose toilet she cleans - ye olde local parish priest. The priest (Jeremy Shamos) is going through his own crisis, however, and exiting the church door just as Moloney is knocking to get in. It's a nifty bit of plot weaving that is only one example of playwright Kate Fodor's skill.
Moloney pursues the priest all the way back home to the stoop of his mother's house. His mother, played by the thankfully restrained Lois Smith, is at a loss. Why do things have to change? Why is getting old so complicated? Why can't her son turn his little butt around and thither back to the bosom of the church and leave her old-fashioned bosom the hell alone? Meanwhile at the other end of the teeter-totter, the teenage daughter and a townie are caught red-handed in the act of discovering that life is a series of saddle bags we toss off only to pick up new ones.