The first show of Granite Theatre's 10th Anniversary season is "On Golden Pond" by Ernest Thompson which 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 and the difficulties faced by a couple in the twilight years of a long marriage. It not only shows their relationship but the plot also revolves around their 42 year old daughter, Chelsea, her dentist fiancee, his smart mouth 13 year old son and Chelsea's former boyfriend from high school, now the mailman. Director David Jepson takes this well written script and casts himself as Norman and 5 other wonderful performers in these roles, giving the audience both a comic and poignant version of this show.
David pays attention to the details to make this well known show come to life and he also designed the gorgeous rustic cabin set for the show built by Brian Robalewski. His hard working stage manager,Barbara Collins keeps things running smoothly all night long while Arthur Pignataro runs the many light and sound cues. The lighting in the dramatic moments is splendid as they fade and dim creating the perfect mood. David plays the role of Norman, the curmudgeon excellently. His role has so many one liners that will keep you in stitches all night long. Some of the funniest scenes include the arguments with Ethel, the slang learning scene with Billy and the illicit sex talk with Bill. His dramatic scene where he thinks he has Alzheimer's is heartwarming. Another touching moment is when he reconnects with Chelsea when they sit next to each other on the sofa when he holds her hand in his and when Norman finally admits he loves Chelsea during the final phone call scene. David's real life wife, Beth is wonderful as Norman's loving and doting wife, Ethel. She is topnotch in both the comic and dramatic moments of the show. Beth has many comic sparring moments with David which are very funny but the dramatic standout moments occur in the argument scene with Chelsea when she slaps her as well as when she thinks she is going to lose her "old poop". The former scene is shocking and the latter one is poignant as she breaks down in tears. The couple's estranged daughter Chelsea is beautifully played by Amy Buckley who is a gorgeous redhead. Her argument scene with Beth is dramatic and the camp song scene with Beth helps to lighten the mood of the show. Another standout moment for Amy is when she chokes up when she displays the emotions of a woman who has grown up with a cold distant father who always wanted a son.
Jude Pescatello plays Chelsea's boyfriend, Bill. Although he is in only one scene in the show, he shines when he comically tells Norman that he and Chelsea will be sleeping together in the cabin finally standing up to the insults the old man flings at him. Jude also does a comic bit of being frightened of a "bear" in the woods. Patrick Wall plays Billy, the smart aleck kid does a terrific job in this role. He has some hilarious moments especially in the bullshitting, the cruising the chicks and suck face segments. Patrick also shines in the fishing scene when he hides in front of the sofa imitating a loon as well as in the scene where he learns how to say French phrases. He elicits many laughs in this show. Patrick also played Leslie in "It Runs in the Family". The last member of this cast is Michael Chiaradio who plays Charlie, the befuddled constantly laughing mailman. He has an excellent Maine accent. Charlie loves Ethel's biscuits, drinking coffee and still has a crush on Chelsea after all these years. His favorite expression is Holy Macanoly and he is a hoot in this comic role with great facial expressions and comic timing. So for a wonderful show be sure to catch "On Golden Pond" for beautiful mixture of comic and heart warming moments which receives a standing ovation as its reward.