Tonight I made the drive through rush hour traffic (and a horrible accident in Brooklin) to good ol’ Port Perry, my hometown. I had the privilege of seeing Borelians Community Theatre’s production of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”. This rather new play was written by the brilliant Christopher Durang and is quoted as being a “Chekhov Mash-up”. But don’t worry, you don’t need to know ANYTHING about Chekhov to watch and throughly enjoy this comedy!
A brief character connection-graph-pie chart-description for you: Masha and Vanya are brother and sister. Sonia is their adoptive sister. Spike is Masha’s much younger lover and an aspiring actor. Cassandra is the house-cleaner for Masha & Sonia (who unfortunately live together and are single in their late-fifties). Nina is the sweet girl next door who is obsessed with Masha (the Hollywood star), adores Spike’s body, attempts to encourage Sonia and bestows Vanya with the term of endearment “Uncle”.
Joanne Norman’s portrayal of Masha, the conceited actress, is strong and so full of life. She enters the stage as if trumpets had announced her and commands your presence with every step she takes. I loved watching Joanne in this role. She had a fluidity to the way she moved and spoke. She exemplified the art of being a diva. Which, for those of you who know Joanne, meant she was acting A LOT. She is such a down to earth and kind person, so there was some serious character acting going on for her to play the arrogant, yet loveable, Masha.
I’ve had the privilege of sharing the stage with Colin Murphy about 10 years ago. I have to say that working with such a consummate actor is a complete and utter privilege. He shines again on the stage of Town Hall 1873 in this role playing Vanya, the gay, shy brother to Sonia and Masha. I would say his character is written as the most well-rounded in the show. He is comical, compassionate, kind, rude, and has a very dry wit about him. Colin really brings it home during his massive monologue in Act 2. Apparently it was 4 pages long. WOW!
Cheryl Tulloch plays the eerily depressed adoptive sister, Sonia. She drags herself around the stage in the first scene and is quite the contrast to her much more livelier brother and sister. Cheryl played a lot of the physical aspects of character. She would sit down on the couch and it almost looked as though she were being devoured by it. She would drag herself around the stage with her shoulders hunched and it was hard not to take pity on her but also laugh at her at the same time. Her portrayal of “Maggie Smith-winning-an-Oscar-for-playing-an-actress-who-was-nominated-for-an-Oscar” was so entertaining and showed a refreshingly new side of Sonia.
- To the Dickies – the cutest newlyweds there ever were. Kyle looks hot in his underwear and Justine got to ogle her own husband each night…. along with the 3 other women on the stage and all of the ladies (and maybe some men!) in the audience!
- To Alexandra Hines – remind me never to piss you off. You looked surprisingly comfortable working that voodoo doll!
- To John Lunman – I’m not one to give shout-outs to directors, but I’ve got to say I could really see the character development that must have gone into this show and I enjoyed the blocking. With 6 leads on stage at one time, all vying for the spotlight, you made sure that everyone was within focus and they never appeared in the dreaded “line”!
Congratulations to the cast, crew & creative team of Borelians Community Theatre’s production of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”. Be sure to mark these dates in your calendar and get on out to see this amusing comedy at the Town Hall 1873 – Centre for the Performing Arts, running February 16-25, 2017. Visit http://borelians.ca or call 905-985-8181 for information on tickets.