VIDEO: Clever play offers humour, satire, character development: and a great night out in Duncan

The action begins when Vanya decides he wants an early cup of coffee. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)The action begins when Vanya decides he wants an early cup of coffee. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Sonia mourns that her life is going nowhere. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Sonia mourns that her life is going nowhere. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Sonia and Vanya have been managing together but it’s not all been happy. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Sonia and Vanya have been managing together but it’s not all been happy. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Masha stuns her brother Vanya by arriving with her toy boy, Spike. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Masha stuns her brother Vanya by arriving with her toy boy, Spike. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Masha is used to being centre stage and attempts to pull the spotlight back to herself. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Masha is used to being centre stage and attempts to pull the spotlight back to herself. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Masha welcomes Spike back from his swim in the pond. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Masha welcomes Spike back from his swim in the pond. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Nina exults at meeting Masha but the famous actress is less than thrilled. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Nina exults at meeting Masha but the famous actress is less than thrilled. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
The audience gasped as an excited Masha leaps onto her young boyfriend, Spike. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)The audience gasped as an excited Masha leaps onto her young boyfriend, Spike. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Cassandra lives up to her name, giving Masha a dire warning. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Cassandra lives up to her name, giving Masha a dire warning. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Pretty young actress, Nina, tells Vanya that his play sounds great. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Pretty young actress, Nina, tells Vanya that his play sounds great. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Cassandra sticks a long pin into a ‘Masha’ doll so the actress won’t sell Vanya and Sonia’s house. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Cassandra sticks a long pin into a ‘Masha’ doll so the actress won’t sell Vanya and Sonia’s house. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

The Mercury Players have a hit on their hands in Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike, which continues its run Oct. 25-27.

A tremendously clever play by Christopher Durang, this show offers a talented cast a lot of scope for both character development and fun, and under the direction of Gregg Perry, the audience on opening night last week was treated to plenty of both.

Of course, this play requires a specific cast, and the Merc had this on hand.

For the role of Spike, they needed a brash, good looking, young guy who loves to run around in his underwear, and they knew of one: James Meyer (who will surely now be known as Spike by the many friends who saw the show opener).

Another absolutely necessary cast member was an actress able to play a beautiful predatory cougar and they discovered Elizabeth Brimacombe, who is making her Mercury debut in this show.

On top of that, there was a call for a warm-hearted nutcase. Leslie Sanchez? She’s up for it. Check. They also needed an enthusiastic girl about the same age as Spike, and golly, they had one in Celeste Borjeau.

And, the foundation stones of the entire scenario were a fading, disgruntled brother and sister of uncertain age and uncertain future. Jim Cleough and Syvia Swift? Yep, got ‘em.

Taking that winning hand into rehearsals must have seemed like a dream to director Perry.

This show is brimful of outstanding performances as the surprising characters shed their outer skins in many ways.

The ingenue sees more clearly than anyone expects, the daft psychic is actually right much of the time, the young lover boy is a snake in the grass, and the self-centred movie star is frightened of the future.

To top that, and believe me, they can do it, the moaning sister pulls herself together, steals the limelight and lands her first date in decades while the going-nowhere brother learns his life has not been as dead-and-alive as he thought, and he is inspired to present his play, and makes a new friend amidst a firestorm of emotion that roils around the stage.

Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike is a play based on clever dialogue, so be sure you’ve had your coffee before the show because you want to be alert to catch everything that’s going on.

It’s worth it.

Shows continue Friday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 27 at 2:30 p.m. at the Mercury Theatre at 331 Brae Rd. in Duncan.

Tickets are $22 for adults, with students and seniors getting in for $17 each.

“Unfortunately, we had to raise our ticket prices to cover current and future costs of our venue,” the group posted online.

Tickets are available from Ten Old Books, and First Chiropractic Clinic in Duncan.



lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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