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VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through May 23. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening performance.
There is much to like about VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, the closing production of the Marx season. As you enter the theater, you are greeted by Paul Shortt’s gorgeous set design. The lighting, designed James Sales, compliments the set with its abundance of “natural light” and shadow.
Christopher Durang’s script is funny and smartly-written. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments over the two 70-minute acts. Playhouse’s production boasts a solid ensemble. Suzanne Grodner is a stand-out as poor, put-upon Sonia. She was hysterical as her costume-party character [vague to prevent spoilers -Rob]. Based on the audience’s and my reaction to the second act phone call, Grodner certainly had us rooting for Sonia’s happiness. Vanya’s (John Feltch) act two rant was another favorite moment in the show.
Opening night, the show felt a bit uneven in pacing and characterization. There were moments when I felt the roles were portrayed more caricature than character. Don’t get me wrong, there were some nice, emotional moments between the characters, I would just like to see that energy carry throughout the entire show. I’m sure a few more performances, under their belt, will help.
Overall, a great way to end the 2014-2015 season in the Marx Theater.
My rating: 4.25 out of 5
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