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Review: Durang's 'Vanya and Sonia' a zany joy

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 14, 2013 at 7:58 pm •  Published: March 14, 2013
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Director Nicholas Martin thankfully doesn't rush things, allowing the actors the freedom to extend a scene just a little further with merely a look. The company also seems to have added their own little physical jokes to Durang's script, such as some recurring hair-mussing and flirtatious touching.

It helps if you know something about Chekhov — when Sonya wails "I am a wild turkey," it's more fun if you know that's a riff on his "Seagull" — but Durang's genius is the ability to write highbrow and low at the same time.

Masha's arrival unsettles the stifling life of Vanya and Sonia. Vanya shakes off his complacency by dusting off a play he's written and gets everyone to perform it — Spike cloddishly interrupts the show with his cellphone — and Sonia snaps out of her ennui by putting herself out there at a fancy party.

Durang has given Pierce a simply lovely rant about how great growing up in the 1950s was — "We licked postage stamps, and we sent letters!" — and Nielsen has a touching phone call — we only hear her side — from a potential suitor that becomes a touching aria about hope and fear and love.

It's all a bit silly, a tad daffy and very, very sweet. Thankfully, for a show that both lampoons and honors Chekhov's themes, it doesn't end with the sadness that usually dominates that revered playwright's work. In fact, you can hear the Beatles sing "Here Comes the Sun."

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Online: http://www.vanyasoniamashaspike.com