On Golden Pond, the latest offering from Vintage Theatre, is a touching story of an older couple during the course of their 48th visit to their summer home on Golden Pond. In addition to the touching display of a relationship that has weathered multiple decades, the play touches on the relationship between parents and children, and what remains when your body and mind starts to fade away with old age.
Director Peter Hughes Designs Perfect Set for Space
HE SAID: For starters, I must applaud Vintage Theatre for rising to challenge of choosing proper material for their small space. The small cast and one- room set fit perfectly in this space and actually enhanced the coziness one might feel at a summer vacation home. A lot of that fit was due to the impressively dressed and meticulously detailed set design. It really felt like a couple built their lives on that stage.
SHE SAID: The set and it was incredibly beautiful. It really looked like a summer home that had been lovingly taken care of, but slowly acquired decades worth of books, games and knick-knacks. We found out at the post-show reception that the bookshelves contained only books published before 1980 (which is the time period in which the director chose to set the show).
The Production Really Shines in Relationship Between Ethel and Norman
HE SAID: The detailed set helped establish the love between to the main characters, Norman and Ethel Thayer (Mike Pearl and Anne Oberbroeckling respectively). Mike Pearl played a wonderful curmudgeon. Although I think he could have picked up his cues a bit he found a lot of comedy in the seriousness of his character. My biggest critique is that I would have liked to see a bigger difference between the moments when he was incredibly lucid and sharp as a nail versus the times when his age was getting the better of his mind.
SHE SAID: From the first scene, the two conveyed such love for each other that you never believed for an instant that their momentary displays of annoyance or stinging quips meant anything but long-lasting mutual respect. Oberbroeckling as the terrifically feisty Ethel was the highlight of the show for me. She was always believable, quite funny, and pushed the pace of the show forward when it sometimes began to drag. She was clearly invested in her husband and her daughter, and she was so luminous and caring that by the end of the show that I wanted to sit down to have cookies with her.
Supporting Cast Rounds Out Small Family Show
HE SAID: I also thought that all of the side characters added something pleasant to the show. Although I wanted to see a bit more build to her emotional outburst in the second act, Abby Apple-Boes as Chelsea Thayer conveyed a long-lasting tense relationship with her father quite nicely. Dixon White’s awkward shyness made the audience really care as we saw his nuanced pain of his unrequited love for Chelsea.
SHE SAID: Ian Frazier as Billy Ray Jr. gave a simple and honest performance. He had an impish grin that helped convey his penchant for teenaged mischief (although it was clear he was really a good boy at heart). It was quite touching to watch Billy Ray and Norman blossom from strangers to sincere family members. Ken Paul as Billy’s father, Bill Ray,was only on stage in one scene. He had to stand up to Norman’s mind games, and although I thought the scene could have clipped along more quickly, I thought he did well at conveying his love for Chelsea.
On Golden Pond Reminds the Audience that “Everyone Wants to Be Seen, Heard, and Loved.”
THEY SAID: We had some concerns that it would be hard for younger audience members to relate to a play centered on an elderly couple. However, the play is so well-written, funny and well-performed that audience members of any age can relate to them. If they don’t remind you of your parents or grandparents, they tug at your heartstrings (the ones that hope that one day you’ll be able to lovingly look into the eyes of your partner of 50 years). At the very least, you’ll easily see yourself in one of the supporting characters. So we recommend that audience members from every generation head over to Vintage Theatre for a funny and moving evening On Golden Pond.
August 20 – September 19
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m. \ Sun at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $23 at the door, $18 in advance