Santa Monica Playhouse

Reviewed by Carol Kaufman Segal

Robert Standley - Tanna Frederick

In this production being performed at the Santa Monica Playhouse, three outstanding artists are united once again after their previous collaboration in The Rainmaker which ran for nearly a year at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. Jack & Jill, a contemporary love story written by Jane Martin, features the exceptional talents of Actress Tana Frederick, Actor Robert Standley, and Director Jack Heller.

While perusing in a library, Jack happens upon a young woman reading a book of poems by Sylvia Plath. He is enticed by her and sparks a conversation. When he asks her what her name is, she somewhat ignores him and his question, so he responds by telling her his name is Jack and she might be Jill. (I never figured out if that moniker was really hers or just stayed with her throughout the play!) Eventually, he wins her over, and they fall in love.

Both Jack and Jill have had previous marriages, and they donít seem to have much more in common. She is a medical student and is committed to fulfilling her quest to become a doctor. He, too, is serious about his career as a graphic artist and would like to live in Los Angeles. However, to continue their relationship, he stays in New York.

After their courtship, they marry and, for some time, have a very loving relationship and happy marriage. But as the years pass, the obstacles between them and the differences in their make-up spell failure and, eventually, they divorce. He moves to Los Angeles; she remains in New York.

Two years later, while Jack is on a trip to New York, they accidentally meet, and this time, it is Jill who pursues Jack. He remains in New York hoping their relationship will work out this time. But once again, Jill is unable to give herself fully to him. Jack finally has enough and walks away from her. She tries to contact him, but he refuses to answer her calls.  Jill finally realizes, too late, that her life is empty without Jack. She desperately tries to reach him, but he continues to reject her calls. Ironically, they happen to run into each other again, and once again, she pleads with him to renew their relationship. Perhaps he, as well as she, realizes that they mean so much to each other that their love is worth fighting for. He responds with a maybe, they hug each other, and walk away.

What really keeps the play moving is not so much the play itself, or the fact that one wishes to know if the two characters will finally get back together or not. No, what truly grasps oneís attention throughout are the splendid performances by Tanna Frederick and Robert Standley. Theirs is true acting at its finest.

Jack and Jill is playing Friday and Saturday at 8 PM, Sunday at 3 PM, through March 27, 2016 (EXTENDED TO APRIL 24, 2016) on the main stage at the Santa Monica Playhouse, located at 1211 Fourth St., in Santa Monica. Online ticketing is available at www.Plays411.com, or reservations can be made by calling (323) 960-1055.


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