Christopher Durang’s Tony winning play Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike is certainly one for the books for Northports’s John W. Engeman Theatre. The gorgeous Long Island venue has mounted a wonderful incarnation running through March 8th and boasts an extraordinary cast.
The zany story revolves around siblings Sonia and Vanya who still live in their childhood home and reminisce how they really haven’t lived. Their parents are gone and it’s just the two of them. Their actress sister Masha, on the other hand, travels the world and lives glamorously. They are all around fifty years of age, but Masha ends up in a relationship with twenty-something Spike. Hilarity abounds when Masha and Spike visit Vanya and Sonia unexpectedly.
Dawn is brilliant as Sonia exuding a sassy yet juvenile aura. Mr. Lukas is very funny as Spike with a self-indulgent vibe. Mr. Pariseau is excellent as Vanya particularly during his understandable, but intense monologue in Act Two. And Ms. Young was stunning as Masha with her entertaining snooty demeanor. Everyone’s performance was truly marvelous.
Also a highlight – and rounding out the cast – is Isabel Santiago (Cassandra) and Megan Yelaney (Nina). Cassandra is Vanya and Sonia’s part time gypsy like housekeeper. Ms. Santiago was hilarious in her wild clothes – Tristan Raines does the costumes for this production – and gives her “doom is imminent” predictions. Ms. Yelaney is adorable as Nina with a more subtle but effective comedy.
Additionally, Jonathan Collins’ set is outstanding. The tale takes place in the living room of their house. A blue hue with lots of décor dressings makes a homey, suburban feel. This is enhanced beautifully with Kate Ashton’s lighting and Laura Shubert’s spot-on sound design.
And so, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike is indeed another hit for the John W. Engeman Theatre. Even though the characters are somewhat gloomy, this is a comical story and a production with a divine cast. Don’t be a “turkey” and miss this show.
Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike is presented by the John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport, Long Island, through March 8th. By Christopher Durang, Directed by Richard T. Dolce, Scenic Design by Jonathan Collins, Costume Design by Tristan Raines, Lighting Design, Sound Design by Laura Shubert, Wig Design by J. Jared Janas, Prop Design by Bryan Prywes, Casting by Joy Dewing & Holly Buczek, Production Stage Management by Bethany Sortman. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) 261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.
All photos by Michael DeCristofaro