; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

I had the opportunity to grab a StudentRush ticket yesterday afternoon for a matinee showing of the Tony award winning play Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike, currently playing at the Arts Club Stanley Theatre.

The play starts off strong, setting up expectations for a hilarious absurdist show. I found myself laughing within the first five minutes, and took that as a good sign. Unfortunately, things kind of peters out after that. The premise revolves around a group of siblings: the spinster Sonia and her gay brother Vanya, who live together and are visited by their younger successful sister Masha, arriving with her boy toy Spike.

Robert Salvador's portrayal of Spike was what helped keep me interested in the show, having seen him excel in prior productions of Espresso and The Rainmaker over at Pacific Theatre. This time, I got to ogle to my heart's content as he parades around the stage in nothing but his underwear.

Throw in a naive neighbour and a psychic housecleaner, there are elements of this play that are good but could just be better. I'm not sure how this play won a Tony award? Perhaps I just didn't get the deeper message to it all, or the constant Chekov references. Jay Brazeau's Vanya has a marvelous revelation though, where he rants about the modern age and the lost beauty of days gone by of letter writing and licking stamps. That was a terrific speech that I could totally relate to.

I recently was in New York and I went to see The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night Time and cried my heart out. Now there's a play worthy of a Tony. (We'll see what happens this June!) Likewise, an older play I saw called Time Stands Still about a photojournalist and the effect of her career on her relationships was also astounding. Hint hint Arts Club: please do Time Stands Still!

Otherwise, the actors who make up Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike do a good job in carrying the show, which might have been even more dull in the hands of another cast. In terms of an absurdist play though, I've seen better ones done by more independent theatre companies such as Staircase Theatre, who brought us the wonderfully hilarious and absurd Hunter Gatherers and Cocktails at Pam's.

If you feel like ducking out of the rain for an afternoon of theatre and quasi-comedy, then Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike might be the ticket for you, if only to see Robert Salvador's sensual backwards strip-tease.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is on until April 19th at the Arts Club / Stanley Theatre.

1 comment:

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