Thursday, March 21, 2013

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike @ John Golden Theatre

What’s all the fuss? There must be truly something special about this star filled show Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Moving to Broadway on its second transfer, the audiences are wondering what is going on that makes it so great. Is it the stars? Sigourney Weaver, David Hyde Pierce and Kelsey Neilson star as brother and sisters, what could be better? Or is it the hilarious book by Christopher Durang?

Vanya and Sonia have never left the confines of their childhood home in Bucks County, PA, while their sister Masha has been gallivanting around the world as a successful actress. A surprise visit from Masha and her 20-something boy toy, Spike, throws the normally quiet household into utter chaos as its residents and visitors get swept up in an intoxicating mixture of lust, rivalry, regret, and the sudden possibility of escape.

Sigourney Weaver (Hurlyburly) portrays Masha, the famous and big headed sister of Vanya and Sonia. After Masha leaves home to peruse her acting career she finally returns home to stir up some trouble. Weaver stays very true to her character but couldn’t help be feel extremely annoyed every time she enters on stage. It may have been her characters personality but there is a difference between acting like your character and over acting. David Hyde Peirce (La Bete) plays the gay and calm brother of the pack, Vanya. Peirce brings his very dry comedy to the show, which leaves the audience in stitches. A highlight of his performance is his fifteen minute rant about how no one in the world is connected and how nothing is how it used to be; quite possibly the best rant of 2013. Sonia, the over dramatic, lonely and down on herself sister is done by Kelsey Neilson (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson). Neilson brought a light to the stage the had the audience rooting for her when she felt really down on herself. When she put on the sparkling blue dress and started acting like Maggie Smith, she truly glowed. Billy Magnussen (The Ritz) played Spike, The 20- something boy toy of Masha. Magnussen is hilarious and also very draining to watch, how someone has that much energy is amazing: Oh and he wasn’t bad to look at either. The best part of the show was quite possibly Shalita Grant (debut) who played Cassandra, the voodoo diva housekeeper. Her repetition and loud energy had the audience rolling on the floor. Every time she walked out on stage, the audience was anxious to see what she was going to do. Genevieve Angelson (debut) played Nina, the next door neighbor who is an aspiring actress. Although Angelson is adorable, her performance was very dull and boring.  

Directing the twice transferred comedy is Nicholas Martin (Present Laughter). Clearly if a show is transferred from regional to Off Broadway to Broadway then someone is doing his job right. Martin knew how to work with each different type of comedy in each different character and did wonderful job of mixing them all together. David Kornis (Motown: The Musical) did the  Set Design, was very simple but worked very well and didn’t distract from this very full show. Justin Townsend (The Other Place) was responsible for the light design. The lights, much like the set, were very simple and kept the well-known saying, “Bright is Funny”. Emily Rebholz (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) did a wonderful job with costume design. There is one tech element the gets to truly shine in this show is the costumes because of how much they are referenced and Rebholz does not disappoint.

          Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike plays at the John Golden Theatre until June30, 2013. This is one of the funniest shows on Broadway right now; make sure not to miss out of the utter chaos. So head over to the Golden Theatre and find out what happens when three siblings are reunited after years of not seeing each other.

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