Monday, April 21, 2014

A funny thing happened when we met our new neighors

Terminal illness is seldom a punchline.

Except in Will Eno's new drama, "The Realistic Joneses," at the Lyceum Theatre through July 6th, where it is. "The Realistic Joneses," is the playwright's Broadway debut, and it features a starry cast.

This very funny drama has a very funky plot. The Joneses, John (Michael C. Hall) and Pony (Marisa Tomei) have moved in down the block from Jennifer (Toni Collette) and Bob (Tracy Letts) Jones. The new neighborrs drop in on a beautiful quiet night. Over the course of several encounters around town, it is clear that John is suffering from the same uncommon genetic disease that Bob has.

Michael C. Hall and Marisa Tomei as the new neighbors, John and Pony.
Photo by Joan Marcus.
If Eno has a point, it is buried in the diurnal rhythms of his play. Yes, despite its outlandishness, life in "The Realistic Joneses" seems very normal. A thin-- more like a whisper of a-- story doesn't suggest much but an opportunity for crackling good talk and a slice of real life ordinariness.
Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, and Tracy Letts as Jennifer,
 John and Bob. Photo by Joan Marcus.

All the revelatons in "The Realistic Joneses" come with terrifically snappy dialogue, delivered with a suave ease by an expert cast. Sam Gold's direction keeps the scenes moving, and the sparkling wit flowing. Michael C. Hall's quip-cracking John is expecially wonderful-- maybe because he has all the best lines. Tracy Letts, the 2013 Tony Award recipient for Best Actor, is also especillay wry in his deliveries.The women of the quartet in "The Realistic Joneses" are natural and comfortable in the strange circumstances of the play.

"The Realistic Joneses" is a most entertaining and amusing tragedy you are ever likely to see.

For more information on "The Realistic Joneses," visit

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