June 30, 2013

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

MAY 3, 2013

SYNOPSIS: Siblings Vanya and Sonia have sacrificed their own happiness to care for their elderly parents at the family’s farmhouse in Pennsylvania, while their self-absorbed sister, Masha, has enjoyed success traveling the world as an actress. One morning, their soothsaying housekeeper, Cassandra, warns Vanya and Sonia of an impending terrible event, and before long, Masha has returned home with her 29 year old boy toy named Spike. Hilarity ensues at this “family reunion”. 

COMMENTS: Since I saw Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, the play has won the Tony Award for Best Play, and I couldn’t be happier! This show had me laughing out loud for the majority of the evening- in fact, I haven’t laughed this hard at a show in a long time. This is attributable to Christopher Durang’s clever writing and the stellar acting of all six actors. 

Kristine Nielsen as Sonia stole the show with a performance that was hilarious, neurotic, and heartbreaking. She was the definition of perfection, and I so wanted her to win the Tony Award. She brought so many different layers to this character and had the audience rooting for her (despite her neuroses).  Her Maggie Smith impression was spot-on and her chemistry with David Hyde Pierce and Sigourney Weaver was perfect.  Her performance alone makes this play worth seeing. 

This was my first time seeing David Hyde Pierce on stage and he did not disappoint as Vanya, the dry and quietly sarcastic brother of Sonia and Masha. Often acting as the mediator between his two sisters and as a “voice of reason”, DHP garnered many laughs with his facial expressions alone. And no one wears a Dwarf costume better than him! His passionate and cathartic monologue was hilarious... and true! 

Sigourney Weaver was impeccable as Masha, the glamorous, self-absorbed movie star. She played a selfish and insecure actress very well. Her scenes with Billy Magnussen, who played her boy toy Spike, were hilarious. Billy Magnussen was also well-cast as Spike and he had the abs to prove it. Liesel Allen Yeager (love her name) was great as aspiring actress, Nina. Shalita Grant gave the second most hilarious performance (after Kristine Nielsen) as Cassandra, the soothsaying housekeeper. Her presence on stage always guaranteed many laughs. She was completely over the top and I loved it. 

I was also impressed by the detail of the sets. From the audience, I actually felt like I was looking at a real farmhouse, complete with grass, trees, a screened-in porch, wicker furniture, a ceiling fan, and stairs leading to the second floor. Pictures of a younger Masha adorned the walls and old board games like Monopoly and Scrabble were hidden under the table. I was actually glad that I arrived at the theatre early, just so I could take in the amazing set before the show started. 

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is the best play I have seen in a long time and I HIGHLY recommend that you check it out at the Golden Theatre on Broadway! And good news- it has been extended through August 25, 2013! 

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