On Golden Pond – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Aging is not always easy, maybe never easy. Acknowledging one can no longer drive at night, needing canes and walkers, becoming forgetful, and looking at youth with envy can make our “golden” years seem tarnished.

Spending your twilight years in a favorite place of tranquility, a summer home that has served your family well for almost five decades, may be an idyllic end to life and to a long and happy marriage. So feel the Thayers, Ethel and Norman, who are settling in for another season “On Golden Pond,” a sweet piece of nostalgia penned by Ernest Thompson. The Ivoryton Playhouse is fittingly bringing this heartwarming comedy to life until Sunday June 11.

In the 1981 movie both Katharine Hepburn as Ethel and Henry Fonda as Norman earned Academy Awards for their roles. Rounding on eighty, Norman (James Naughton) is retired from teaching and, despite an increasingly poor memory and heart palpitations, he has retained his sharp wit and bitingly strong views on life. Ethel (Mia Dillon), ten years his junior, appreciates her hubby and the long marriage that they have grown comfortable enjoying.

Sending a ripple of tremors through their familiar routines is the arrival of their divorced daughter Chelsea (Stacie Morgain Lewis) who is on her way to Europe with her new fiancé Bill (Josh Powell). His son Billy (Sabatino Cruz) will be the summer guest of the Thayers, the “grandchild” they never had, and his presence will enliven the household in innumerable ways.

What will Norman and Billy learn from each other? Will Chelsea be able to reconcile her differences with her dad? How will Ethel cope with the newest and oldest members of the family? How does the visit of neighbor and local mailman Charlie (Will Clark) change the dynamics of the story? This excellent cast balances love and laughter, sentiment with a touch of sadness, for an outstanding theatrical experience.

Ivoryton Playhouse will present “On Golden Pond” under the direction of Brian J. Feehan on a beautiful set designed by Marcus Abbott. For tickets ($55 adults, $50 seniors, $25 students), call 860-767-7318 or online at ivorytonplayhouse.org. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Wednesday and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the theater, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton.

Spend a leisurely summer day with Ethel and Norman Thayer as they readjust to more than just the loons visiting them “On Golden Pond.”You will be enriched by the experience.