ON GOLDEN POND, (The Arctic Playhouse)

Reviewed by Tony Annicone


The current show at the Arctic Playhouse is “On Golden Pond” by Ernest Thompson. It is the love story of 80 year old Norman Thayer and his wife, Ethel. They are returning to their summer home for their 48th year. It not only shows their relationship but the plot revolves around their 42 year old daughter, Chelsea, her dentist fiancee, his 13 year old smart mouth son and Chelsea’s former boyfriend from high school now a mailman. Directors Sandy Cerel and Chris Margadonna take this well written script and cast some wonderful performers which wins them a thunderous standing ovation at the close of the show.

Jim Belanger and Lloyd Felix designed and built the gorgeous rustic set for the show. It looks so realistic that you feel as if you could live in it. Terry Simpson plays the role of the lovable curmudgeon excellently. His role has many one liners which leave the audience in stitches. Some of the funniest include the slang learning scene with Billy and the illicit sex talk with Bill. He does a terrific job in this role. Sandy Cerel does double duty in the show, also playing Ethel, the doting and loving wife of Norman. She also has some comic moments while talking about the loons, arguing with Norman and a comic with Chelsea and Charlie while reminiscing about camp days of yore. Sandy’s best dramatic moments come when she argues with Chelsea about letting go of the past and when she thinks “her old poop” is dying on her.

The couple’s estranged daughter, Chelsea is well played by Cherylee Dumas. She handles the moments of growing up with a cold distant father who always wanted a son but finally accepts her at this late moment in his life. Cherylee handles the comic and dramatic moments of the character beautifully. Her scene with Sandy is electrifying and when she admits she loves Norman during the phone scene is poignant, too. Steve Dulude plays Bill, the dentist who is Chelsea’s boyfriend. Steve does a topnotch job especially when he puts Norman in his place after all his barbs that he flings at him. He tells him that he and Chelsea will be sleeping together in the cabin. Steve also has a comic one running away from the bear scene, too.

The smart aleck boy is excellently played by 13 year old, Ethan Clarke. His comic moments include the bull shitting and the suck face scenes and the fishing scene where he is bogged down with all the fishing gear. Ethan has a bright future in show business. Chris Verleger plays the constantly laughing and eating mailman wonderfully. He wins many laughs with Ethel in the first act and with Chelsea and Ethel in the second act while talking about delivering the mail at the camp. So for a superb comic show with some excellent dramatic moments entwined in it, be sure to catch “On Golden Pond” at the Arctic Playhouse. Tell them Tony sent you.

ON GOLDEN POND (29 September to 14 October)

The Arctic Playhouse, 117 Washington St, West Warwick, RI

1(401)573-3443 or www.thearcticplayhouse.com