Sonia (played by Lorna McLellan)

REVIEW: Tony award-winning play hits the stage in Qualicum Beach

The play is definitely for older audiences due to dark humour at times

Review by Lauren Collins

Within the first few minutes it’s pretty obvious that the warning about mature content in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike was no laughing matter.

The laughs, however, kept coming from the audience as Vanya (played by Bard To Broadway co-founder Gary Brown) and Sonia (played by Lorna McLellan) start the play off with some witty banter.

Middle-aged siblings Vanya and Sonia, who share the their now-deceased parents’ home, open the play. Within a few short minutes, they start bickering and complaining about how they never got to have their own lives while their movie star sister Masha got to have all the fun.

Soon enough Masha (played by Susan Bradshaw) swoops into the home with her new — and much younger

boyfriend — Spike (played by Nicholas Atkinson).

From there, the siblings argue and clash resulting in threats to sell the house.

Also in the cast is young and aspiring actress Nina (played by Sarah McKelvey) and maid Cassandra (played by Susan Warner).

Cassandra, who like her namesake from the Greek tragedy Cassandra, is known to make ominous prophecies that no one believes. Warner’s Cassandra gives off a bit of a Kimmy Gibbler vibe (Full House), in effect, stealing the scene and a bunch of laughs each time.

The play takes a more serious tone in the final two scenes with a long, and mostly uninterrupted, monologue by Brown.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike definitely has a darker sense of humour at times, but the play and the characters still managed to make the audience laugh until the very end.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike opened Bard To Broadway’s 17th season on a high note. B2B is the first non-professional theatre company on the Island to present the comedy which won a Tony Award for Best Play in  2013.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is playing July 12-13, 23, 27-28 and Aug. 4-6 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and July 24 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $23 for adults, $21 for students and seniors and $12 for children.

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