If love makes the world go around, then JACK AND JILL takes the audience on a scintillating spin through an obstacle course. Both Jack and Jill have been married before when they meet, each carrying some unwanted baggage and secret fears, especially neurotic Jill, who can’t decide whether she wants to be an independent woman of her times or involved in a permanent relationship. Hilarious faux-pas ensue as prickly Jack and manicky Jill slowly inch past their protective porcupine quills to finally reach out to each other. But nothing is easy for this couple, neither communication nor geography. Jack is an “image-maker” whose clients are more plentiful on the West coast, while Jill is a medical student who wants to make her mark on the East coast.
JACK AND JILL reads like a primer for budding marriage counselors as Jack and Jill feint and dodge through their growing commitment and their growing discomfort. Sad, poignant, and tremendously funny, Jack and Jill dip their toes into love’s wellspring while managing to exemplify almost each stumbling couple who ever tried to get together and stay together. Jack tries desperately to become a more understanding, gentle, and open mate, while Jill works hard at becoming cooler, controlling, and more independent.
JACK AND JILL is blessed with two talented principals who are at the top of their game. Robert Standley (Jack) has an award-winning record in theater, television, and motion pictures. He outdoes himself in his performance of a conflicted man with nuances of love, hate, and fear giving Jack his multi-layered personality. Tanna Frederick (Jill) has an equally outstanding record in theater and motion pictures. She brings her boundless talent to this role of an anxious, confused, and yet very laugh-worthy woman who will resonate with the audience. These two talented individuals can make the audience laugh until they cry. Their duet is a pleasure to watch, even if at times you want to throttle both of them as their frustrations became one with the audience. This show is a must-see for Valentine’s Day couples.
Playwright Jane Martin seems to have lived within Jack’s and Jill’s skins, and her point-on dialog is as realistic as it is brilliant. Perhaps the theory about this famously pseudonymous Jane Martin - that Martin is a collaboration between designer Marcia Dixcy and her spouse, director Jon Jory - has some truth in it. Somehow, it feels as if Jack had to be written by a man, while Jill sounded female all the way. Director Jack Heller, an acclaimed actor with solid credentials in theater, motion pictures, and television, manages to keep this pair on track while allowing their very idiosyncratic styles to flourish. The stage setting maximizes its size and simplicity by introducing backgrounds via effective projections on the back wall. The entire production team does a good job enhancing the production.
JACK AND JILL runs through March 27, 2016 with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Santa Monica Playhouse (Main Stage) is located at 1211 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA 90402. Tickets cost $25 on Fridays and Saturdays and $20 on Sundays. For reservations, call 323-960-1055 or go online at www.Plays411.com.