Review: The Realistic Joneses

The Realistic Joneses; 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; $15-$35. B Street Theatre B3 Stage, 2711 B Street; (916) 443-5300; Through February 6.
Rated 4.0

In The Realistic Joneses, playwright Will Eno creatively plays with language and meaning to convey the heartache, frustration and melancholy mystery of how a degenerative mental disease affects people, relationships and day-to-day interactions. This theater-of-the-absurd presents the story of new neighbors who find out they share the last name Jones as well as other similarities none of them want to admit.

Presented in short scenes, this existential dark comedy uses non sequiturs, awkward give-and-takes, illogical patters and inappropriate outbursts—which serve to command the audience to take a leap of faith and embrace the crazy quirkiness. The reward is a fascinating delve into the hearts and minds of four people struggling with watching loved ones slip-sliding away—whether it be mentally, physically or emotionally.

Director Buck Busfield wisely engages four B Street regulars in this challenging play: Dave Pierini, Elisabeth Nunziato, Dana Brooke and John Lamb, all of whom already know how to gel as a team—working off and around each other in this dark dance of descending madness.

The four characters portrayed here may not always be likeable, but through strong performances they are memorable. And the scenes and dialogue may not always be logical, but if you fully give yourself up to the play’s quirks and cadences, you’ll find a funny, sad, strange and sweet story of life struggles.