Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Albuquerque/Santa Fe

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
The Adobe Theater
Review by Carla Cafolla

Also see Carole's review of The 39 Steps

Emily Cox, Isaac Carrillo, Robin Havens-Parker,
Megan McCormick, Matthew Van Wettering,
and Yannig Morin

Photo by Rhonda Sigler-Ware
Laughter rang out from the small but appreciative opening night audience as Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Christopher Durang's play currently in production at The Adobe Theater, got into its groove. And what a cool groove it turns out to be. Directed by Danial Paul Anaya, the play tells the story of a family in crisis.

Middle-aged Vanya and his sister Sonia in the doldrums, rudderless since the death of their parents, contemplate their bleak future. Enter Cassandra, their psychic, pink toenailed housekeeper, full of dire warnings of woe to come. And she's not wrong (she never is). It's just that, like her namesake the original Cassandra, she is destined to be a seer. Sadly, also like Cassandra she is destined to be never believed. Soon, expected guest, super-successful actress sister Masha arrives. She has in tow an unexpected companion–her much younger lover, Spike. Spike is handsome, sexy, and totally self-absorbed. He's not the brightest either, but who cares when he's great between the sheets?

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is very funny, and at times completely hilarious. I had seen this play maybe a decade ago and don't remember it being as funny as it is in this production.

Vanya, mild and gay, played by Yannig Morin, is a sad sight to behold until he experiences a sudden and obvious passionate reaction to the overtly sexual Spike who has a penchant for taking his clothes off. Spike himself (played by Isaac Dean Carillo) charms the audience. He, despite his outer innocence, proves fully capable of looking out for number one.

Sonia is aware life has passed her by. The years devoted to (along with Vanya) caring for their parents has left her alone, practically penniless with no marketable skills. Poor Sonia, her character brings out the best in us as we cheer her along. Megan McCormick plays her with gentle sympathy and a cracking sense of humor.

Nina from next door unknowingly and inadvertently becomes Masha's rival. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and Emily Cox plays her very well.

And Masha, the over-the hill actress whose financial familial support has not been enough for her siblings, is a great character. We witness this funny, entitled woman eventually find herself–Robin Havens-Parker's portrayal is beautiful and hilarious throughout.

Casting Matthew Van Wettering as Cassandra is an inspired choice. He is a riot all by himself, appearing to relish his onstage persona. You have to see the play to fully appreciate it.

Light and sound (uncredited) by is uniformly good throughout; set and props have been created with care by Daniel Anaya and Jennifer Benoit. Linda Wilson's scenic artistry is excellent as usual. Costumes provide some laughs by themselves, with credit going to Jacob Griego.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike runs through May 12, 2024, at the Adobe theatre, 9813 4th Street NW, Albuquerque, NM. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7.00pm and Sundays at 2.00 pm. For tickets and information, please visit or call 505-898-9222.