Review: The Realistic Joneses

“So much potential.”

That’s what I thought leaving the Lyceum Theater after seeing the The Realistic Jonses the other night.

Check out these credits:

Written by Will Eno. Directed by Sam Gold. Starring Toni Collette, Michael Hall, Tracy Letts, Marisa Tomei (seriously, what a kind of amazing cast?!).

The Realistic Joneses

The show originally premiered at Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, CT, in April 2012, starring Letts, Parker Posey, Glenn Fitzgerald and Johanna Day.  Written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Eno and directed by Sam Gold (Fun Home), The Realistic Joneses is inside look at the people who live next door, the truths we think we know and the secrets we never imagined we all might share. As their relationships begin to irrevocably intertwine, the Joneses must decide between their idyllic fantasies and their imperfect realities.

Jennifer (Toni Collette) and Bob (Tracy Letts) are an older couple, whose relationship is tenuous after living together for many years. Plus, he has a degenerative health issue that is causing complications in their relationship. Along come Pony (Marisa Tomei) and John (Michael C. Hall), a much younger couple. She is whimsical and a bit flighty; he is offbeat and at times off-putting. Four lonely people coming together. At the start of the show, you wonder just what will happen.

Well, Bob suffers greatly from his illness, and we watch him slowly unravel. Jennifer suffers as a result. And for some reason, Pony and John are attracted to them. When the four of them are together discussing the meaning of life and the cosmic universe (John is an astronaut, after all), it’s funny and exhilarating to watch four great actors on one stage. But when the relationships start to intertwine, I lost interest. The alternate couples don’t have much chemistry, for one thing. For another, the relationships never seem to move. Even after the respective spouses find out about the other’s affair, there is little interest from their part and the next minute, you see them all chatting, coming back from dinner, as though nothing happened. It was hard to care about these characters after waiting for something to happen for 90 minutes.

Still, four characters living in the middle of nowhere, searching for the meaning of life, living in complete fear of themselves. It held some merit. The acting is superb, there is no denying that. I’m curious to see what critics have to say once the reviews starting hitting the news waves this week.

the realistic joneses

The Realistic Joneses is playing through July 6th at the Lyceum Theater. Ticket information can be found here.

 Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to facilitate this review but no opinion was asked of me.


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