ON GOLDEN POND (BCP): 60-second review

Christa Scott-Reed and Mia Dillon in ON GOLDEN POND.
Christa Scott-Reed and Mia Dillon in ON GOLDEN POND.

Bucks County Playhouse presents Ernest Thompson’s ON GOLDEN POND. Norman (Keir Dullea) and Ethel (Mia Dillon) Thayer are spending another summer on Golden Pond in Maine. Ethel is a positive, energetic soul, a stark contrast to innately grouchy and pessimistic Norman. It also becomes apparent quickly that Norman, reaching his 80s, is also losing his memory.  Norman’s natural demeanor led to a long, enduring rift with his daughter Chelsea (Christa Scott-Reed). In an effort to try to mend the relationship, Chelsea and her fiancé Bill Ray (Don Noble) and his son Billy Ray, Jr. (Cameron Clifford) decide to visit the lake house before setting out for a trip to Europe.

Director Jonathan Silverstein gives us a chance to watch a family go through situations that we all face in some way. It’s poignant, tear-jerking, hopeful, tongue-in-cheek funny, and real. This story is not one to take lightly and required strong acting and empathy – and they delivered. Real-life husband and wife Dullea and Dillon commanded the stage with raw, tangible interactions. Scott-Reed wore her heart on her sleeve and had the audience supporting Chelsea in her mostly patient exchanges with her father. Noble had the gift of changing the mood on the stage to one of male understanding, not to forget the support by family friend Charlie (Todd Cerveris) who brought a different, lighthearted air with him in his appearances. Finally, Billy Ray, Jr. (Cameron Clifford) interacted with each character in a different way that showed his ability to diversify his character and show off his growing talent. The set was absolutely amazing with the support of excellent sound and lighting. As usual Bucks County Playhouse rang in a winner. Hurry and get to ON GOLDEN POND. [Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope] July 26–August 2, 2015; bcptheater.org.

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