BWW Reviews: Bucks County Playhouse Presents a Beautiful ON GOLDEN POND
I would describe Bucks County Playhouse's production of ON GOLDEN POND, under the direction of Jonathan Silverstein, as comforting. The show is a warm-hearted and beautiful production with a cast that skillfully crafts a portrait of a family. The story is nostalgic and takes the audience on a journey back to simpler times. ON GOLDEN POND sheds light on the complexities of relationships and how they change over time. ON GOLDEN POND at Bucks County Playhouse pays homage to aging and family relationships, and this production has a solid and outstanding cast.
ON GOLDEN POND tells the story of Norman Thayer, Jr. and his wife Ethel. This is Norman and Ethel's 48th summer at a cabin in Maine on a lake called "Golden Pond." The play is a heartfelt and entertaining look at getting older and love. It explores the love between Ethel and Norman, and also the complicated relationship between Norman and Chelsea, their daughter. Ernest Thompson wrote the play in 1979, and in 1981 it was adapted for the screen starring Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn and Jane Fonda.
Keir Dullea plays Norman Thayer, Jr. and he is superb in this role. Dullea is the perfect combination of curmudgeon and cynical, while still maintaining a likableness and charm. Dullea perfectly balances Norman's forgetfulness and humor, and remains endearing. Mia Dillon portrays Ethel, Norman's wife. Dillion and Dullea not only portray the married couple of Norman and Ethel on stage, but are also married in real life. Dillion is strong and resilient as Ethel, and the chemistry between Ethel and Norman is tender and heartfelt. You can't help but smile seeing these two actors interact onstage. The moment of tension in this play comes forth when their daughter, Chelsea, enters the stage. Christa Scott-Reed portrays Chelsea, and she is defiant and smart. However, the highlight of her performance comes in a confrontation between her and Ethel. I felt the entire cast worked well together, but I particularly felt that the interactions between Dullea and Cameron Clifford, who plays Billy Ray, Jr. were the strongest in the show. When Clifford enters the stage, there is a change in Norman's character as if this young man being present creates a sense of renewal and brings out the best in Norman's character. The scenes between Dullea and Clifford are some of the strongest in the show, and these two connect onstage to create a bond that warms the hearts of the audience. This show will bring audiences back to by gone days and remind them of the power of understanding and love within family relations.
ON GOLDEN POND runs at the Bucks County Playhouse through August 2, 2015. For more information and tickets visit their website at www.bcptheater.org or call the box office at (215) 862-2121.
Photo Credit: Mandee Kuenzle