On Golden Pond at Lakewood Theatre Company - Sampling from the Oregonian Review

Theater review: "A fine staging of a somewhat dated play about aging at Lakewood Theatre Company"

Published: Saturday, March 10, 2012, 4:25 PM   


On Golden Pond at Lakewood Theatre Company

Pictured: Jane Fellows and Tobias Andersen in Lakewood Theatre Company's production of On Golden Pond, playing March 9 - April 15, 2012 at Lakewood Theatre. Photo by Lake Oswego Photographers.

"Do not go gentle into that good night," Dylan Thomas wrote. "Old age should burn and rave at close of day." Norman Thayer, Jr. who's about to turn 80, doesn't rave and burn, exactly: His manner of dealing with impending death is by talking about it a lot, and making wry jokes about it, unsettling everyone around him. In Ernest Thompson's popular play On Golden Pond, currently at Lakewood Theatre, it's 1979, and Norman (Tobias Andersen) and his wife Ethel (Jane Fellows) are at their cottage in Maine for the summer, a nostalgic place where memories surface, and some are plainly forgotten.

The Lakewood production does a fine job of balancing the funny with the serious, and director Kirk Mouser even throws in some physical humor that suits the characters.

When Norman's estranged daughter Chelsea, sharply sketched by Beth McShane, decides to pay a visit with her fiancé Bill the dentist (Bill Barry) and his 13-year-old son Billy (Nathan Berl), Norman's life changes. At the play's center lies a heart-to-heart talk that Norman and Chelsea never had, but finally do.

Just as important is his new relationship with Billy, a breath of fresh air from another generation. An unlikely bonding takes place here, cemented by early-morning fishing expeditions, French lessons from Norman and more. Norman may not be able to remember which road in the wilderness to go down to pick wild strawberries, but he does remember to tell Billy to read Alexander Dumont. "We should have rented a 13-year-old boy years ago," quips Ethel.

The cast of On Golden Pond - Lakewood Theate CompanyThe strength of the cast keeps the play from getting maudlin. Andersen is riveting to watch as Norman, with his deadpan delivery and sharp comic timing. But behind the veneer, we sense Norman thinking and processing, coming to terms with what matters in his remaining years. Fellows as Ethel is charming as his loving sidekick (the play is all about Norman, after all), and we learn a bit about her early years on Golden Pond. She's younger than Norman, and worried about his demise just as much as he is, but faces the idea of death with clarity and calm during one focal incident in the play.

Berl is wonderful as young Billy, and unfortunately we don't see enough of him, as he follows Norman out to the pier loaded down in full fishing regalia. Doug Richardson as Charlie, the easy-going mailman, provides continuity to the Thayer family history. Other characters we never meet, but hear, are the loons on Golden Pond making their plaintive cries, their cyclical presence reflecting patterns of human life.

- Holly Johnson, Oregonian

Click here to see the full review on the OregonLive site.

Click here for more details about the show.


On Golden Pond:

On Golden Pond at Lakewood Theatre CompanyTicket Information

Ticket prices are $28/adults and $25/seniors. Other discounts are available for students. For additional information and tickets, call the Lakewood Box Office at (503) 635-3901 or click here to order online. 

| Click here to purchase tickets online | Click here to see production photos |
  Mar. 9 - Apr. 15, 2012

Jane Fellows as Ethel in On Golden Pond at Lakewood Theatre Company, March 9-April15, 2012
Beth McShane as Chelsea in On Golden Pond, March 9 - April 15 at Lakewood Theatre Company
Jane Fellow and Tobias Andersen in On Golden Pond, March 9 - April 15, 2012, Lakewood Theatre Company 
Jane Fellows and Tobias Andersen in On Golden Pond at Lakewood Theatre Company, March 9 - April 15, 2012

Share this page: