Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall. Photo: Joan Marcus.
Bob, we learn early on, is suffering from a degenerative neurological disease, but he's in denial about it. His illness is being treated by a local doctor, a leading specialist. This helps considerably in our understanding of why he acts so oddly. But we only learn much later that John has the same ailment, and that he moved here because of the specialist's presence. While Bob is in denial about his illness, John tries to keep it from Pony, out of concern for her discomfort with such matters. Pony's quirky reactions, on the other hand, are attributable to her ultimately self-acknowledged lack of an attention span. This, though, doesn't hold water, as she seems perfectly capable of a sustained conversation when required, and she’s even taking college courses, including one in theology.
So few good new plays get done on Broadway one wishes to encourage those that do. But THE REALISTIC JONESES seems built less for the Great White Way than for a quality production in a more intimate environment. On Broadway its verbal eccentricities lack weight and float off like balloons. This is a play about language, and the closer we are to the people caught up in its give and take, the more likely we are to catch the strings before those balloons float away.