BWW Review: THE REALISTIC JONESES at Kansas City Actors Theatre
"Joneses" Explores Reality with Humor
In "The Realistic Joneses", two suburban couples, both namEd Jones, find they have much more in common than their identical surnames. The two couples, which are new neighbors, meet in the backyard and strike up an awkward friendship. The couples conversations bridge the gap between their idyllic dreams and less than perfect reality. Playwright Will Eno connects two couples that must ultimately face their own mortality. "Joneses" confronts the nature of relationships from the tepidly mundane to ridiculously quirky. The humor is so well woven through the show that it makes it difficult to determine if the audience is laughing at the characters or themselves.
Ashley Pankow and Brian Paulette portray John and Pony Jones a couple who discover mountain country life is not the magic elixir they imagined. Ashley gives Pony a zany innocence that masks a character that understands far more than the others give credit. As John, Brian diffuses the tension of each scene with wit ranging from warm to suspicious, while honestly accessing his humanity.
Carla Noack and Phil Fiorini (as Bob and Jennifer Jones) give a couple, mired in dealing with the reality of recent changes, both honesty and contrast. Carla's tender portrayal of Jennifer as the dutiful wife reveals that there is far more beneath her surface than is initially indicated. Phil, as a scattered Bob, allows the character enough space to keep the audience guessing where he's going next.
This ensemble cast paints a picture that is compellingly familiar and yet completely unexpected. The script gives the audience scenarios that everyone has thought or heard in the routine of daily life. The magic here is the way in which the interactions of such different characters bring understanding to life's most intimate situations. John Rensenhouse directs a show that that will either make you want to get to know your neighbors better, or avoid them altogether.
The regional debut of this award winning 2014 Broadway play is now showing at the H&R Block City Stage at Union Station, in Kansas City. The show runs May 24 - June 11, 2017 and tickets are available by calling the Central Ticket Office at (816) 235-6222 or go to www.kcactors.org.
Photos by Mike Tsai courtesy of Kansas City Actors Theatre