Celebrating the Dys-FUN-ctional American Family: VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE at Footlighters Theater

by Andi Rose

Wow. And I thought my family was dysfunctional! If you would like to peek into someone else’s troubles and put your own family idiocyncracies into perspective, don’t wait to join the fun with the very funny family of VANYA and SONIA and MASHA and SPIKE now residing at Footlighters Theater in Berwyn.

The first actor on stage is brother Vanya, played by Joe Tranchitella. The oversized night shirt he wears to strut across the stage is the first clue as to what fun is in store for the audience. Joe’s portrayal of Vanya is fresh and funny with his own special dash of crazy. But he puts all that aside for his own personal meltdown about the ever-changing world in the second act. This frustrated performance has brought spontaneous applause. Vanya’s younger, adopted sister, Sonia is played by Karen Eckstein-Sarkissian. Incredibly insecure, Sonia has her own special “cray-cray” ways and presented plenty of laughs to the audience’s delight. Barbara Burri brings to life the high strung, self-centered, New York actress sister, Masha, whose acting antics have been supporting her two siblings and their now deceased parents for decades. Miss Burri was excellent in her memorable portrayal of the narcasist, Masha. The housemates are rounded out by Jillian Bosmann playing Cassandra, the family’s nutty house cleaner. She has visions and predicts the family’s future, much to their consternation. Jillian is zany and very funny.

The cast was rounded out by two Temple University theater students. First, the Bucks County family is joined by Masha’s “boy toy,” Spike, a young actor (who was “almost cast in Entourgage 2”) as funny and as egotistical as his mature lover. Portrayed by Steven Harding, he brought great energy and craziness to Spike, who has a penchant for taking off his clothes. Bringing even more youthful enthusiasm into the house to further annoy the middle-aged siblings is Abby Scott. Ms. Scott plays the star-struck, young neighbor, Nina, who is enthralled with the arrival of her idol, Masha. Ms. Scott was waif-like and a joy to watch, particularly fun during her stint playing “A Molecule.”

The entire cast was well rehearsed and didn’t miss a beat or punch line …..which are numerous. The staging by Director Travis Milliman was smart and effective and the set brings the country charm of an old family home to life. You still have one more weekend to catch this zany, dysfunctional family in action. Join them this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, September 24, 25 and 26, at Footlighters Theater located at 58 Main Avenue in Berwyn (just 1.5 blocks from the Berwyn train station). Curtain goes up at 8PM. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.footlighterstheater.com, or at the door. See you there!

Footlighters Theater

Review submitted by:
Andi Rose

Author’s Bio:
Andi Rose is a singer/actress in musical theater. She will soon begin rehearsals for BROADWAY SINGS! at Footlighters Theater. This is a fundraising event for Footlighters Theater in Berwyn. This gala event will be performed on February 26 and 27 of 2016. Mark your calendars now! Andi is also a proud member of Screen Actors Guild.

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