Review: 'Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike'

September 26, 2013
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

At the Phoenix Theatre, a solid cast effectively demonstrates how to turn a fair play into a very entertaining evening.

Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” picked up a Tony Award just a few months ago for Best Play on Broadway, but that speaks more to the few original plays staged last season than it does to the quality of this one. That’s not to say it’s a bad play—just a scattershot one that feels a few drafts away from solid.

You might not notice that, though, given the joyful attack being launched on it by Charles Goad and Diane Kondrat, who play the first two of the title quartet.

As step-siblings lamenting the lack of excitement in their lives, the duo turned inertia into theatrical bliss. And the blossoming of Kondrat’s Sonia—particularly during a phone call where she’s alone on stage—is a sight to behold, showing a surprising sweet side to the usually absurdist, cynical Durang while offering a master class by Kondrat in soulfully funny acting.

Less effectively written are prophecy-spouting cleaning woman Cassandra (Dwandra Nickole Lampkin) and Masha, a Hollywood actress who is given far too much stage time with little to do but offer variations on shallow. To actress Jen Johansen’s credit, the imbalance merely tilts the play rather than sinks it. More endearing are Spike, unashamedly played (even in his skivvies) by Pete Lindblom, and Nina (Ashley Dillard), the picture of enthusiastic sweetness.

“You must always get your hopes up,” says Nina, which isn’t a philosophy I expected from a Durang play, but one that plays beautifully in this smartly designed, well-directed production.  

Speaking of "Vanya etc.," it's one of the most-produced plays in the country this season. See the rest of the top ones here.

Look for additional reviews of the IRT's "The Crucible" and NoExit Performance's "Big Bad Wolf" in the Sept. 30 IBJ.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this blog

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. This is still my favorite Mexican restaurant in town. What I do love about the new version is it is much quieter than the most recent version. TV's were off, the music wasn't too loud, and the wait staff were not hyperactive like they had been the past few times I had been there. I just wish they would bring back the MOLE for the enchiladas!

  2. Not a bad paper. There is a need for local community news and city government issues. Don't really need the owner's constant national political rants. We all know where they stand by now.

  3. What nice people. Menard should've known better than to team up with the guy who robbed and drove Conseco to ashes. I'm surprised Timothy Durham isn't involved in this.

  4. Hello, I am Maris Peters, currently living in Texas city, USA. I am a widow at the moment with three kids and i was stuck in a financial situation in August 2014 and i needed to refinance and pay my bills. I tried seeking loans from various loan Companies both private and corporate but never with success, and most banks declined my credit. But as God would have it, I was introduced to a Man of God a private loan lender who gave me a loan of $65,000USD and today am a business owner and my kids are doing well at the moment, if you must contact any firm or company with reference to securing a loan without collateral , no credit check, no co signer with just 2% interest rate and better repayment plans and schedule, please contact Mr William David. He doesn’t know that am doing this but am so happy now and i decided to let people know more about him and also i want God to bless him more.You can contact him through his email: Davidloanfirm@yahoo.com

  5. It is beyond me how anyone can think this was a "bad deal" for the state! If they could take the money back then, yes, but they can't! Protections were built in the agreement. Now, if they roll the roads up and take them away, I will agree that it was a bad deal. Otherwise, the only way to have paid for the infrastructure that was badly needed was for the state to issue bonds....that is a four letter synonym for debt folks!!

ADVERTISEMENT