Time to Remember
Theatre Review: Kaleidoscopes' "Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike" a delightful study in family dysfunction and partial nudity.
(Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike , now playing at Kaleidoscope Theatre in Lynnhaven .)Middle aged Vanya and his adopted sister Sonia spend their days in their dead parents home bemoaning their drab lives. Having cared for said parents through their decline into death, the siblings themselves have never had a life of their own- no jobs, no relationships, no anything, and have depended solely on their movie star sister Masha to support them and the family home. The play opens with what must be a daily occurrence of non-sensical arguments over...nothing- the kind of which families excel . Vanya is the (somewhat) calm in the eye of the familial storm whereas Sonia is prone to crying fits and histrionics. Their maid Cassandra is a self proclaimed psychic/jewish-voodo queen who (one must presume this is a daily occurance) warns them of impending doom-this time heralding the dangers of "Hootie Pie". and also, of the surprise arrival of Masha. Their misperceived safe-haven is soon turned upside down by Masha- their vain, haughty, and wildly insecure movie star sister (she wanted a career of performing the classics but was relegated to cheesy action movies much to her chagrin) and her current boy-toy Spike- a struggling wannabe actor (whose biggest claim to fame is a flubbed callback for the movie Entourage 2). Masha claims she is merely there for a costume party a neighbor is having, but her visit has more diabolical implications for the siblings. Beware of Hootie Pie, indeed.
Director Doug Gilliland guides the sharply written comedy by Christopher Durang with clear vision of the absurdity of fractured family dynamics. Durang loosely based his characters from playwright Anton Chekovs' plays, and Gilliland keeps a dollop of Chekovian sturm and drang as an undercurrent to the farcical proceedings. His tight ensemble cast is splendid. Jason Blanks brings a resigned weariness to Vanya (subtly personifying his age with a hunch to his shoulders and a shuffling gait) that simmers to a boil in an epic eight minute monologue that is a sight to behold. Daphne Lewis - a veteran local actress known for her leading lady looks and her comedic chops- is a revelation in her bravura performance as Sonia. Cleverly cast against type, a sans-makeup Lewis is a mass of neuroses and insecurities, desperate to finally have a life . Kathy Tinder Lindsey's Masha may be grand, but she has her own insecurities that seem to cripple her. Aging action movie heroines have a limited shelf life in Hollywood, and Masha knows her time is up. Tinder-Lindsey keeps up the past her prime actresses' façade with aplomb while allowing the characters insecurities leak out. Hillary Hutchins plays Cassandra with a gonzo go for broke energy that results in mass hilarity. Destin Thomas (in his first ever role) brings a puppy dog innocence and charming goofiness to the underwear clad Spike, his gyrating and hip thrusting played more for laughs than intimidating overt sexuality. Megan McCarty plays Nina, a wide eyed innocent who is starstruck by Masha, with confidence and charm.
The set design by theatre co-founder Charles Wilson is beautiful as per usual- the man does stunning sets. The costumes by Linda McClindon and the cast are lovely-especially the fairy tale costumes for the(unseen) party scene.
What more can I say than this is a funny, funny show. More than worth the price of admission, check out this excellent example of talent in our local theatre scene.
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