I entered the John Golden Theatre knowing Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike was funny but full of Chekov references. [Uh oh…] I hoped the play wouldn’t require me to know Chekov in order to follow the story. As I took my seat, I noticed the set was an old fashioned looking house and some trees; [Boring!] the play must take place somewhere in the past. Right when I was getting kind of turned off by the whole play, the lights dimmed and the opening scene… waylaid my worries.
Middle aged siblings, Vanya and Sonia (David Hyde Pierce and Kristine Nielsen), share a home in the middle of nowhere, Bucks County, PA, with nothing to distract them from the drabness of their lives. [Bam!] In comes Masha, their sister (Sigourney Weaver), an energetic and attractive movie star with her hot, but brainless, young boyfriend Spike (Billy Magnussen), threatening to sell the house she’s been making payments on for her siblings.
There were some show-stealers. Vanya’s (Pierce) powerful and charming monologue about changing times was impossible to keep a straight face during. After speaking about the small pleasures of the past, from the Ed Sullivan Show to mailing letters, Pierce sticks his fist in the air and bellows, “I licked postage stamps!” to thunderous applause. When Sonia (Nielsen), usually a dumpy and depressed woman, swaggers on stage clad in a stunning blue sequined dress for a Halloween party, finally upstaging her larger-than-life sister who is in a Snow White outfit, her description of her costume (done in Maggie Smith’s accent) had me rolling in my seat. [And...] Spike’s willingness to take off his clothes and reveal his remarkable abs, I did not mind at all.
- Gemma L.