Home News

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” is funny and fun at Mile Square Theatre

HOBOKEN – Mile Square Theatre’s latest play is very funny. It’s also touching and insightful, revealing, heart-warming and fun. But mostly, it’s funny.
“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” running Wednesdays through Sundays until Oct. 7, is Mile Square Theatre’s first production of the fall season, and it’s a very welcome escape from, well, whatever it is from which you need to escape: politics, money, kids, ennui… Actually, there is some ennui expressed on stage, but it gets blown away pretty quick.
Montclair native Christopher Durang won the 2013 Best Play Tony Award for writing the script as well as the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play. In the hands of Mile Square Theatre’s stellar talent both on stage and behind the scenes, it lives up to, and exceeds, even the highest expectations.
“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”is a gripping, fast paced, silly yet thoughtful comedy about life, family, aging, showbiz, and self-examination. It provides a peek into the lives of a yet another dysfunctional family, this one from Bucks Country, Pa.
Vanya (Chris O’Connor) and his adopted sister Sonia (Barbara Pitts) quip about how they seem to have wasted their lives caring for their parents. Their sister Masha (Annie McAdams), an international movie star, stops by to show them what she thinks they’ve been missing, and to show off her latest far-too-young boy toy, Spike (Jonah Robinson). Each actor has his or her own moments of brilliance on stage as well as moments expertly supporting the brilliance of others. The family’s cleaning lady, Cassandra (Andrea Bellamore), steals every scene she enters, and while family steals it right back, their neighbor Nina (Anne Hammond) pops in to remind us that, oh yes, there are sane, kind and grounded people in the world, too.
If the names in the title of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” ring a bell, that’s because they’re drawn from characters of the plays of Anton Chekov. (Well, maybe not Spike, who seems to be the personification of the short-live bro TV network by the same name). While a handful of winks are tossed in for those who know a thing or two about Chekov’s work – there are a couple references to a cherry orchard, for instance – you don’t need to know a thing about any theatre except the one on stage in order to enjoy every moment of this silly and moving production. It’s like going to “Hamilton” without having heard the soundtrack: You’re coming out a changed person, whether you know what you’re getting into or not.
The set (Matthew Fick), costumes (Peter Fogel), bit of choreography (Sarah Webber Gallo) – no matter your orientation, you will, ahem, “feel something,” during the reverse striptease – and, of course direction (Mark Cirnigliaro) are top notch, which is something we’ve come to expect from Mile Square Theatre. They’ve set their own bar fairly high.
Comedy is hard. An ensemble comedy is harder still. An ensemble comedy playing off the subtleties of life, family, regret, promise and potential should be downright impossible. Mile Square Theatre makes it looks easy.
Go now and witness how easy it is to feel good, be inspired, reflect and laugh at “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”.
Presented by Mile Square Theatre, 1400 Clinton St., Hoboken, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” will run from Sept. 12 through Oct. 7, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are available at www.milesquaretheatre.org, or by calling (201) 683-7014.
Tickets are $30-40 • $18 students and seniors. – Jeff Kreisler

Exit mobile version