Written by 2:34 am Costa Mesa, Costa Mesa Playhouse, Review, Theater, Uncategorized

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike @ Costa Mesa Playhouse – Review

pc: Mike Brown

Written by Patrick Chavis

The 2013 Tony Award-winning Christopher Durange play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is playing now at the Costa Mesa Playhouse from October 20 – November 12, 2023.   

Story:

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a family dramedy about three siblings. Vanya, played by Bob Fetes, is a gay older man who feels like he has let life pass him by. Sonia, played by Karen Rymar, was adopted into the family. She lives with Vanya and feels deeply dissatisfied with what she has done with her life as well. Lastly, Masha, played by Gina Garrison, is the most successful of the siblings. She’s a successful movie star whose career has faltered because of her age, but she still receives roles, just not the ones she wants. Drama and hilarity ensue when Masha arrives at their house with a new, much younger boyfriend, Spike, played by Chase Thomas.

Direction:

This Jeff Paul-directed production of VSMS provides a genuinely good approach to this play. There are some issues with pacing and acting consistency, especially in the play’s first act, pulling you out of the story. However, this play has an intriguing message about society, family, and success, which was communicated well in this show.  

Set Design/Lighting:

This was a lovely set from Set Designer Antonio Beach. It is highlighted with the lighting design from Christopher Gehrke. Gehrke uses colorful lighting through the window panes, and it’s highlighted when most of the lights go out. The set has a rustic-looking cabin-like look. Wooden floors, walkable stairs, and stained blotch walls give it a lived-in feel. 

Acting:

The pacing in the first act was quick and snappy. It was almost unnatural like the actors were trying to get through lines instead of delivering them. This was not a problem among most of the actors in this production, and most of the pacing issues disappeared in the later parts of the first half and the second act.  

Bob Fetes’ meek but opinionated portrayal of Vanya and his scenes with Spike are some of the funniest moments in this production.   

Hello, Hollywood. Gina Garrison has arrived with an impressive performance, balancing the character’s confidence and ego while letting the character’s heart shine through. It’s not an easy feet.  

Overall:

This goofy comedic tale has a lot to say, and some excellent monologues are sprinkled throughout. It is written with theater lovers in mind, but it’s not a requirement. There’s a lot to love with this production going on right now at the Costa Mesa Playhouse.  

Review
7.8 Overall
0 Users (0 votes)
Story8
Acting7.4
Set & Design8.4
Costumes8
Entertainment7.2
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Above Average Show! October 20 – November 12, 2023 ​

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