Wednesday, February 26, 2020

'The Realistic Joneses' by Will Eno

26 February 2020

On Saturday we were at the Ustinov Studio at the Theatre Royal in Bath to see ‘The Realistic Joneses’ by Will Eno. Simon Evans’ production is the UK premiere of the play which was first seen in Yale in 2014. ‘The Realistic Joneses’ is a hugely enjoyable quirky battle of words between two couples, brilliantly played by Clare Foster, Corey Johnson, Jack Laskey and Sharon Small. John and Pony have just moved into the house next door to Jennifer and Bob in a village at the foot of mountains, somewhere in America. As the four of them get to know each other through a series of gentle conversations in their back yards, no-one seems to take anything that is said at face value, picking apart the sentences for hidden meanings. And it is hard to tell who is actually telling the truth. The result is an incredibly funny and often puzzling drama that never fully resolves its mysteries but is nevertheless extremely entertaining. The suggestion of something going on beneath the surface of the dialogue reminded me of plays by Sam Shepard and Caryl Churchill, and I wondered whether there was actually some underlying analogy, like the threat of nuclear war as the unnamed fear in Edward Albee’s ‘A Delicate Balance’. But if ‘The Realistic Joneses’ was no more than a witty entertainment it was great fun.

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