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Issue 1784 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

Keep the Cat Free

Vibrant and salubrious and mirthful and sassy

A stellar performance on midlife crisis comes to life at the Charing Cross Theatre

Photo: Marc Brenner


in Issue 1784


Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike

★ ★ ★
Charing Cross Theatre
Until 8th January, 2022
From £17.50 (Students)

Christopher Durang’s Tony award winning play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike has finally come to Charing Cross Theatre in London via Bath after being postponed by the pandemic. From smashing coffee cups in the morning to the eponymous Sonia and Masha bawling on the floor, worried that their life is devoid of meaning – the play touches on a lot of sentiments that university students feel.  

...sibling rivalry, midlife crises, and family responsibilities, delivered simplistically in the style of an American sitcom

Vanya and Sonia, captured beautifully by Michael Maloney and Rebecca Lacey, are 50-something-year-old siblings who live together in their parents’ home. They spent all their lives taking care of their parents and now that they’ve passed away, the ‘kids’ (now middle-aged adults, far from their prime), find themselves adrift with no career or purpose in life. That is, other than “feeling like a wild turkey”. They are joined by their glamorous, confident, and successful actress sister, Masha (Janie Dee) who returns after a very long time to the family home that ‘she’s too good for now’. Masha who returns home for a costume party with a young, hot boy, Spike, in arm.... Masha who has been out there in the world dazzling stages with her performances while her siblings slaved taking care of the parents... And now, Masha wants to sell the family home.

Vanyasonyamasha 4 Janie Dee And Michael Maloney Photo Marc Brenner Photo: Marc Brenner
Janie Dee (Masha, left) And Michael Maloney (Vanya, right) in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

The story is aided by the psychic fortune-teller Cassandra and the neighbour’s niece Nina who provide ample eccentricity to their quaint country home. Both comedically aggravating in their own ways, Sara Powell and Lukwesa Mwamba do an excellent job of bringing fresh waves of tears of laughter to the audience, playing us almost like they had voodoo dolls for us, just as they did to sway Masha’s decision to sell the house.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a well-acted heart-warming comedy that touches upon sibling rivalry, midlife crises, and family responsibilities, delivered simplistically in the style of an American sitcom. However, unlike the days in London, that are getting shorter, the monologues did keep getting longer and less bearable as the play went on. Some of these sections are better preserved as just a literary piece, no matter how much gusto they are delivered with.

An overall enjoyable experience, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a touching and affectionate story that will be running till 8th January 2022.

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