Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Realistic Joneses @ The Lyceum Theater

Playwright Will Eno looks at people's interaction and what our conversations reveal not only about us — but human existence as well. The Realistic Joneses is packed tight with Broadways most anticipated and starred studded cast: Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts and Marisa Tomei.

In The Realistic Joneses, we meet Bob and Jennifer and their new neighbors, John and Pony, two suburban couples who have even more in common than their identical homes and their shared last names. As their relationships begin to irrevocably intertwine, the Joneses must decide between their idyllic fantasies and their imperfect realities.

Eno's dark comedy takes a while to warm up to the audience, all the action sneaks up on us and then jumps out from behind then corner and drags us along a highly emotional, quick witted and thought provoking journey. This truly ensemble piece could easily fall apart if one of the four actors were to fall short but it wasn't the case here. Toni Collette is warm, snarky and shuttered, she brings a mysterious quality to Jennifer that makes the audience want to dig deeper. Tracy Letts is pretty much playing the same character he won his 2013 Tony Award for, luckily for him it worked out in his favor. Marisa Tomei is bubbly, frantic and dim witted; Tomei brought a smile to the audiences faces, even in the darkest moments in the show. Lastly, Michael C. Hall in this critics opinion is the driving force and show stealer. It was truly amazing watching him portray John as we watch his psyche decline and deteriorate.

The production will be directed by Obie Award-winner Sam Gold, who recently received critical acclaim for his production of Fun Home at the Public Theater. The show features the scenic design by David Zinn, which consisted of a black wall, a sliding door and some outdoor trees, leaving the whole experience incomplete. The sound and lighting by Mark Barton and Leon Rothenberg worked very well together to create a daunting atmosphere that didn't seem to belong with this show.

The Realistic Joneses officially opened night on Sunday, April 6th, 2014, at the Lyceum Theatre and will play through Friday June 6th, 2014.

Review By: James Russo

Photos By: Joan Marcus

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