MOMS NIGHT OUT: THE REALISTIC JONESES: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman

realisticjonesbannerAcademy Award nominee Toni Collette (Muriel’s Wedding, Hostages), Golden Globe winner Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under), Tony Award winner Tracy Letts (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Homeland) and Academy Award Winner Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny, The Wrestler) star in THE REALISTIC JONESES, the new play about love and life, friends and neighbors.

realisticjonesheadshotsIt’s written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Eno and directed by Sam Gold (Fun Home).

Eno has a way with words…..poetic and jarringly witty….yet largely convoluted….think stream of consciousness dialogue that goes round in circles, winding up no where.  At first, it’s intriguing, but the language grows wearisome after a while, as does the play.  It’s actually the silences that speak volumes in the utmost appealing fashion and allow the actors to do their best, more quiet, nuanced work.  But even a stellar cast that delivers engaging and fetching performances can’t fully rise above the wordplay-heavy material.

Letts and Collette are an older married set of Jones who find themselves neighbors of the younger married Jones who are new to the quiet countryside, replete with dead squirrels yet beautiful nighttime skies.  All have settled there to pursue specialized medical care….both men share a degenerative disease….but Tomei’s character doesn’t know Hall’s health secret. 

Each character is offbeat and living with uncertainty in their own way…which helps cement a dysfunctional connection between the players.

Ultimately the quirky play (90 minutes, no intermission) leaves you thinking about the universe and the uncertainties that come with it all, including mortality. Nothing particularly new here,  but a tongue-twisting approach and occasional laughs, with a biting and sad undertone.  Not sure we’d really want the story to go anywhere since the next stop might be the death of Lett’s or Hall’s character, and there was already the funeral of a townsman that poses the question, “what is the relevance?”

One might pose that question in general upon leaving the theatre.


Lyceum Theatre

149 West 45th Street
(Between Broadway and 6th Avenue)
New York, NY 10036


Note: Thanks to LANTERNS KEEP at the Iroquois Hotel for a lovely pre-show cocktail reception.