The Zach Theatre’s production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, written by Christopher Durang and directed by Abe Reybold, is brilliant!!!
It sparkles with wit while shining a spotlight on those universal family dynamics that are especially funny when they don’t affect you directly. Add a brilliant cast such as Jaston Willians, Lauren Lane, and Beth Broderick, and you have a show that delights, entertains, and made me want to go back and see the show again and again. Like a potent spice that heightens the flavor or an already superb dish is the very talented Carla Nickerson as the delightful Cassandra, whose prophetic utterances are worthy of her name and more than a few laughs.
Now, for the plot, in case you are not familiar with it. Vanya and Sonia live a quiet life in a farmhouse in Bucks County, PA that belonged to their parents. (Sonia was an adopted child.) Their older sister, Masha, is a somewhat famous actress whose financial support has enabled the two to remain in the home of their now-deceased parents. But times are changing and Masha’s career is on the decline. Though an aging personality with multiple marriages in her past, she continues to indulge herself with handsome, young, aspiring actors, in particular one named Spike, whose intellect is not part of her criteria for a suitable companion. Something, however, has to give and Masha’s trip home is part of a plan to sell the house and reduce the financial support she has provided in order to maintain her still somewhat-glamorous lifestyle. Of course, there are complications and of course there are resolutions, but it is the journey of these characters that makes you remember and chuckle well after you have left the theatre.
One additional note…the caliber of technical artistry that is part of almost every Zach production is what one hopes to find in a
professional production, but in particular the set design for this production was exceptional! The dialog is smart and funny, and the talent and timing of this amazing cast makes for one of the most entertaining, funniest shows of the season!