ON GOLDEN POND is a beautiful and poignant play which has been turned into multiple movies and television events. However none of them have quite captured the humor and sad truths in the tale as James McCrane’s directorial vision in this Newtown Arts Company production.
The stage at the Newtown Theater has been beautifully transformed into a rustic cabin that looks very lived in and loved; the set itself was beautifully hand-painted (Linda Baldwin) as was the gorgeous pond seen through the window. The lighting (Travis Johnson) was beautiful and never distracted from the actors, and only ever helped to enhance the atmosphere of the scenes. Scene changes were efficient and speedy (Natalie Chernicoff). The cast as a whole is rather spectacular, and McCrane deserves credit for casting such a crew.
John Wolodzko (Norman) successfully plays Norman as a man you can both love and hate, who is both the product of his times and simultaneously a loving husband and grandfather. He plays his character’s dementia not as a laugh into and of itself but in such a very real way that you have to laugh or you might very well cry.
Gail Foulke (Ethel) is the grandmother we all wanted growing up. Sassy and witty and a perfect match for Norman, she displays a familiarity and love for him despite his faults. Foulke is perfect for such a strong and loving woman.
Paul Cohen (Bill Ray) is hilarious as the man trying to court Chelsea. His comedic timing was perfect and he has one of the most fun conversations in the show and he steals the spotlight and runs with it.
Greg Millevoi (Charlie) is laugh out loud funny as Charlie the mail man. It’s hard to keep a running joke going for 5 minutes without it feeling old but Millevoi deftly handles the task. Millevoi’s naturally strong comedic timing makes a funny character laugh out loud perfect.
Miles Davidow (Billy Ray) was very well cast as a young man trying to find his place in the world. Davidow carries his own amongst a very talented cast, a hard feat in and of itself and he is all the stronger for doing so at such a young age.
Margaret DeAngelis (Chelsea) is amazing as the slightly tortured daughter. She has the ability to display an entire array of emotions in a single glance. DeAngelis skillfully plays a slightly damaged daughter while still conveying a strong woman who really does love her family despite itself.
Natalie Chernicoff (Operator) is simply a pretty voice on the other end of the phone, so it could be hard to convey much as an actress but she still manages to steal some of her scene back from Norman.
With such a wonderfully talented cast and crew you would be doing both them and yourself a disservice if you don’t get a chance to spend at least one night at ON GOLDEN POND.
ON GOLDEN POND
by Ernest Thompson
Directed by James McCrane
June 19-25, 2014
Newtown Arts Company
120 N. State Street
Newtown, PA 18940