A farmhouse on a hill located in Bucks County with a nearby barn, trees and pond. There is a morning room with comfortable chairs and large window. Vanya (David Hyde Pierce ), who is in his late 50s, and admitting to being gay, is seen in a nightshirt carrying coffee. Sonia (Kristine Nielsen), his stepsister, 50ish and rather shy, enters with a cup of coffee for Vanya. A spiff ensues because Sonia brings him his coffee every morning resulting in Sonia throwing the cup of coffee against the wall. It is the first of the humorous aspects of Broadway’s latest Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
There is another sibling, Masha, who had gallivanted to pursue her acting career and with the death of their parents leaving Vanya and Sonia to take care of the house. Chekov references are made throughout the play having parents who gave them these names via the author’s writings.
Enter Cassandra (Shalita Grant), the cleaning lady and soothsayer who will pause dramatically and go into her visions or “soothes”. From her accent, she appears to be from Jamaica. “Beware of Hootie Pie”. Will we ever find out what that means?
Masha (Sigourney Weaver), also in her 50’s, comes into the picture and bringing a self-involved man in his late 20’s with the name, Spike (Billy Magnussen). She will be talking about herself being in the movie business and Spike looking to succeed. Cougar situation and already having five husbands.
It seems that Masha has gotten an invitation from an extremely wealthy woman who bought the Dorothy Parker house up the road. It is a costume party. She is going as Snow White and wanting Spike to go as Prince Charming. She also wants both her brother and stepsister to dress as one of the seven dwarfs.
Spike, who has gone down the pond for a swim, brings back a young lady that he met. Nina (Genevieve Angelson) is young and pretty. No need to say more.
Sonia as decided to be the Evil Queen from Snow White, but played by Maggie Smith on the way to the Oscars. Hilarious! End of Act 1 and that’s all you need to know.
I suppose that If one knows more about Chekov, it would be funnier in getting some of the jokes. Otherwise, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will keep your attention and in good laughter. One of the best scenes happens toward the end with Vanya as he delivers a monologue.
Sigourney, Pierce and Neilson are fabulous! Although Magnussen and Angelson give a fine performance, the comedic aspect owes- the title of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Cassandra”. I highly recommend this show.