Jack and Jill

Rated 4.0 If Jack and Jill were competing on The Amazing Race, you’d be praying for their elimination. This bickering twosome—one passive-aggressive and the other a bitch—can never leave well enough alone, and we get to watch it all unfold. This wasn’t always the case with Jack and Jill. The two start out tentatively. Jonathan Rhys Williams and Stephanie Gularte portray relationship-weary warriors who meet in the library. Jack pursues; Jill resists. Love triumphs. Then it sours. Then it renews. Then it wilts again. Their relationship moves through romance, squabbles, marriage, squabbles, reconciliation and more squabbles. As their names suggest, Jack and Jill’s relationship has been up the hill and back down a couple of times.

Playwright Jane Martin illustrates each stage of this relationship through short scenes and sharp dialogue. Judging by the nods, nudges and nervous laughs some couples in the audience exchanged on opening night, Martin hit some sensitive chords.

With Jack and Jill, Delta King Theatre deftly delivers what it’s best known for: an accessible play that examines relationships, most notably the yin and yang of men and women. Director Peter Mohrmann keeps a tight rein on the quick scenes, sharp repartees, clever staging and smart performances by Williams and Gularte.

Ultimately, even with solid performances, neither actor can make these unsympathetic characters likable. Jack and Jill’s ups and downs become wearisome. It’s like getting a restaurant table next to a bickering couple. It may be entertaining for a while, but by the end, you really don’t care if their relationship lasts. You’re just glad you’re not going home with either one.