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Witty, wacky, wonderful

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Christopher Durang’s “Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike” will make you think, give you a good laugh.

(From left): Joaquin Valdes, Michael Williams, Cherie Gil, Mica Pineda, and Roselyn Perez (mb.com.ph)

(From left): Joaquin Valdes, Michael Williams, Cherie Gil, Mica Pineda, and Roselyn Perez

The clever piece cloaked as a simple comedy touches on issues familiar to many people, including social media, celebrity and global warming, among many others. Its use of some of playwright Anton Chekhov’s more popular themes and characters, blending it with today’s toils and troubles, stimulate the mind.

The premise is simple enough: Vanya (Michael Williams) and Sonia (Roselyn Perez), siblings who have been living together in the family home, are visited by their famous but narcissistic sister Masha (Cherie Gil) with her boy toy Spike (Joaquin Valdes).

Adding to the fun is Nina (Mica Pineda), a young neighbor who is also an aspiring actress; and Cassandra (Naths Everett), an eccentric cleaning lady always spouting prophecies of doom.

 A scene from ‘Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike’

A scene from ‘Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike’

While the first half is full of delightfully funny word play between the characters, the second is filled with moments of real sadness, no thanks to Vanya, who, at one point, rants eloquently about himself and how the world has changed.

Sonia garners the most laughs especially when she frets about the imminent demise of the family cherry orchard, which is actually composed of merely 10 trees.

The play is supposed to be a vehicle for Cherie but Roselyn stole her thunder channeling Maggie Smith in “California Suite,” well, at least in delivering her lines.

The production design, from the lighting, sound, costumes, make up, set and props, are quite admirable too. In all, it’s a delightfully entertaining production.

Directed by Bart Guingona, “Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike” runs until Feb. 12 at the OnStage Theater in Greenbelt 1, Makati City, coinciding with the 50th year anniversary of Repertory Philippines.

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