“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” at the Bathhouse Theatre

No need to be a Chekov aficionado to appreciate this charmer presented by Lamplight Productions and Katie Soulé. It adds to the fun if you have even the tiniest understanding of Chekov so you can appreciate all the sly and not so sly references to his plays, but this award-winning work by Christopher Durang can stand completely on its own.

Directed by Ted Jaquith, the cast does well at capturing the angst of two siblings trapped by their own inertia in the house paid for by their successful sister Masha who is threatening to sell it. Masha, an actress reaching that dangerous age for women, shows up with Spike, her studly man/boy of the moment. She’s here to attend a neighbor’s costume party as Snow White. Her plan is to have her sister and brother dress as a couple of dwarfs. Of course it doesn’t go quite as well as Masha has planned.

Molly Hall as Masha captures all the egocentricity and imperiousness we expect from this the successful sister. Yet she also shows her vulnerability, especially when Spike, her current boy-toy (well played by Connor Kinzer) finds younger attractions.

Cindy Giese French as Sonia, the sister with the dull little life does well capturing the emptiness of that life. But sometimes, a little brown wren can outdo a colorful cardinal, and so she does. French gives the character just the right emotions.

Terry Boyd as Vanya brings a poignant sense of failure to his role as the brother with not much to look forward to and not much about his past life to remember with joy. “I’m in mourning for my life.” is a line that equally applies to both brother and sister. Yet this is a very funny play, with a poignancy here that is deeply moving.

The play was well received on Broadway in 2013, and since then has been mounted on stages throughout the country. By the way, there’s a cherry orchard on the property.

Through September 17 at The Bathhouse Theatre, 7312 West Green Lake Dr. N., Seattle, www.lamplightproductions.org.

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