Theater: ‘The Realistic Joneses’ challenges yet champions reality

Michael C. Hall and Marisa Tomei play one pair of Joneses. Credit: Joan Marcus
Michael C. Hall and Marisa Tomei play one pair of Joneses.
Credit: Joan Marcus

Like TV’s “Seinfeld,” “The Realistic Joneses” is a show about nothing. It’s often very funny and features a gang of four (all named Jones), although they are not as self-involved or minutiae-obsessed as their broadcast counterparts.

The Joneses have more serious things on their minds, to the extent they have anything on their minds at all. Bob (Tracy Letts) has a degenerative nerve disease known as Harriman Leavy Syndrome, as does, it seems, his new neighbor, John (Michael C. Hall). Bob’s case of HLS appears considerably further advanced. He is taken care of by his patient wife, Jennifer (Toni Colette), the most grounded member of the quartet. John’s wife, Pony (Marisa Tomei), knows nothing of his condition.

While the disease features prominently in the play, it’s more peripheral than focal. It’s hard for anything of substance to take center stage given the endless barrage of nonsensical non-sequiturs, coming especially from John. Hall is absolutely hysterical in the role, a study in guileless deadpan. Tomei is also very funny as John’s sexy but off-kilter wife. Wide-eyed and quirky, she’s so impulsive that she gets together with Bob to “exchange bodily fluids,” as John describes their tryst. A very solid Colette anchors the play; she and Letts function more or less as straight men, but each provides some laughs as well.

“The Realistic Joneses” will disappoint those looking for a linear plot or even the payoff of a distinct ending. But playwright Will Eno’s dizzying tilt-a-whirl of a comedy is just the ticket if you’re up for a ride for its own sake.

If you go

‘The Realistic Joneses’
Through July 6
Lyceum Theatre
149 W. 45th St.
$39-$135, 212-239-6200,
www.therealisticjoneses.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Dr. Dre is king of hip hop with…

With $620 million in estimated pre-tax earnings, veteran rapper and record producer Dr. Dre topped Forbes list as the highest paid hip hop artist, ousting Sean "Diddy" Combs from the…

News

Bin Laden son-in-law sentenced to life in U.S.…

A seemingly unrepentant Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday in New York following his conviction on terrorism charges.

National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Television

Craig Ferguson wants you to see his new…

Craig Ferguson thinks his new game show will become "a comedy show in which a game is played and money is won."

Television

Anthony Anderson on dealing with your 'ish'

Anthony Anderson discusses finding the humor in his "Black-ish" family.

Gossip

Photos: See who Robert Pattinson was caught holding…

Robert Pattinson has a new girlfriend.

The Word

The Word: Kris and Bruce Jenner's predictably public…

They said it wouldn't last — mostly because of that separation almost a year ago. And now, more than a year later, Kris and Bruce…

MLB

Bud Selig honors Derek Jeter as both prepare…

Bud Selig’s 22-year reign as commissioner will end Sunday, and while it’s had its share of negative moments, it also had Derek Jeter.

NFL

Column: Geno Smith not the answer for Jets…

There were highs for Jets quarterback Geno Smith in Monday night’s loss to the Bears and there were incredible lows.

NFL

3 things that went right in Jets loss…

It wasn't the result the Jets wanted, a 27-19 loss to the Bears, but this team deserves some credit.

Sports

Here's the 8 best and worst sporting goodbyes

With Derek Jeter set to retire following the 2014 Major League Baseball season, we look back at some of the great and not-so-great sporting goodbyes.

Home

NYC fall real estate hot list

The upcoming developments and areas everyone's buzzing about.

Style

Milan Fashion Week shows the best of Italian…

Metro rounds up the cut of the collections at Milan Fashion Week.

Tech

The 2014 Maker Faire saw robots, printers and…

Got a broken button maker? There’s a fix for that – and Tony Stanzione of the Fixers’ Collective says he can show you how.

Parenting

First look: Uniqlo's fall/winter 2014 kids collection

Get a sneak peek at Uniqlo's kids and babies fall/winter 2014 line.