PicksInSix Theater Review: The Realistic Joneses
“LOTS OF UNSAID THINGS BETWEEN US.”
There are more than a few words shared in “The Realistic Joneses,” the Shattered Globe Theatre|Theater Wit co-production of Will Eno’s clever and poignant comedy about two couples named Jones playing the hands they are dealt in life. The conversations unfold a bit like a spirited, laugh out loud gin game without the cards, the twists and turns of Eno’s deftly constructed work exposing hilarious observations about the serious side of our lives that have been hiding in plain sight.
Jennifer (Linda Reiter) and Bob (H.B. Ward) are facing Bob’s debilitating condition head on, one of the reasons this set of Joneses moved closer to the best care and treatment possible. The new couple in the neighborhood named Jones – Pony (Cortney McKenna) and John (Joseph Wiens) – have rented a house nearby for the same purpose. In director Jeremy Wechsler’s capable hands, the wry humor and fragility of the situation shines through to make “The Realistic Joneses” an inventively staged, touching and uproariously funny story of aging and endless possibilities.
Bob is a pragmatist, one of those patients who is not fond of spending any amount of time trying to rationalize the future. He chooses to leave the specifics of treatment and the weight of that trying decision to his wife. Through the emotional highs and lows, Jennifer, as caregiver, interprets Bob’s intent and softens his impulsive observations which may or may not be caused by his medication or deteriorating condition. We are never quite sure.
The ‘other’ Joneses are younger and somewhat freewheelers. Pony sells greeting cards online but no one is buying. John claims to be in the heating and air conditioning business. They appear to be the more normal couple, eager, perhaps too much so to be neighborly. By the time someone says “there are lots of unsaid things between us,” we are already well along the way in knowing that things are not as they appear. It turns out the Joneses have much more in common than living out their beautiful days and nights in the neighborhood.
The cast is loaded with talent. Reiter is superb in the delicate divide of a devoted spouse whose long-term role of facing life as caregiver is mixed with her own uncertainty opposite Ward’s delightfully crotchity, understated performance. McKenna is a bundle of kinetic energy that covers an underlying fear of the unknown while Wiens handles the whip-smart John effortlessly, exuding a confidence tinged with his own brand of mystery and confusion.
Jack Magaw has created an impressively versatile multi-scene design which works well with John Kelly’s lighting and Christopher Kriz nature-filled sounds. A lighting cue rarely gets a nod, but there is a doozy in the middle of this one that, like so much more in this wonderful show, may remind you fondly of your own backyard.
SHATTERED GLOBE THEATRE
and THEATER WIT
THE REALISTIC JONESES
through March 9, 2019
1229 W. BELMONT AVE.
For more reviews, visit: Theatre In Chicago