VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE (The Players, Barker Playhouse)


Reviewed by Tony Annicone


The third show of The Players’ 109th season is the comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” by Christopher Durang. Vanya and his adopted sister Sonia live a quiet life in the Pennsylvania farmhouse where they grew up. However their peace is disturbed when their movie star sister Masha returns unannounced with her twenty something boy toy, Spike. They discuss their lives and loves and argue then Masha who supports her siblings, threatens to sell the house. The only other resident of their home, is the cleaning lady, Cassandra who like her namesake is always making dire predictions that nobody believes. Some of the elements of the show are derived from Anton Chekov, including some of the characters names, the play’s setting in the cherry orchard and the possible loss of their ancestral home. The play is about accepting life the way it is. It’s also about change and accepting it as well as that there is no place like home no matter what happens along the way. Director Steven Vessella infuses his cast with high energy in these comic roles and obtains hilarious performances from all of them. However there is a dramatic punch from the two sisters in the second act and a brilliant powerful monologue from Vanya on the way things used to be when people took time to enjoy themselves and each other without rushing around on Twitter, cell phones and facebook.


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