Arts & Entertainment

REVIEW: The Realistic Joneses

Suzann James, David Jeffrey. Photo: Clare Hawley.

Director Julie Baz can be relied on to select interesting and provocative plays to stage at the Limelight Theatre in a wonderfully renovated building which used to house Martin’s Bar back in the day.

This time she’s turned to playwright Will Eno, whose play The Realistic Joneses was named Best Play on Broadway by USA Today, and best American play of 2014 by The Guardian. 

And I understand why.

Two couples find themselves to be neighbours in a small unnamed US country town known for its doctor who specialises in the fictional degenerative neurological disease, the Harriman-Levy disease, which afflicts both men.

Jennifer (Suzann James) is Bob’s (Jeff Houston) long-suffering carer, who takes comfort in staring at the international foods range in a special section of her local store because they calm her down “in a non-churchy way.”

John (David Jeffrey), however, has not told wife Pony (Jodine Muir) about his disease, which afflicts the sufferer’s speech.

This might not seem good material for a play, but Eno manages to wring some very funny linguistic laugh-out-loud comedy from the characters’ interactions, as well as portray the vulnerability of all his characters.

This play presents a rare glimpse into suburbia and, despite the characters’ ordinariness, wrings empathy for them and their foibles in a clever and compassionate script.

Until Mar 30. Limelight Theatre, 231 Oxford St, Darlinghurst. $28-$38+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.limelightonoxford.com.au

 

Reviewed by Irina Dunn

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