The opening show of Attleboro Community Theatre's 53rd 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 Jack Shipley takes this well written script and casts some wonderful performers in these roles leading topnotch version of this show.
Jack blocks the show very well and mixes the comic and poignant moments together wonderfully. He pays attention to the details in making this well known show come to life.The gorgeous rustic cabin set was designed by Kevin Boisse, Beverly Darling, Tammy England and Jack. His hard working stage manager Patti McGuire keeps the scene changes moving quickly with her assistant Teagan Sweet. Valerie Coogan runs the lights while Nevin Lorden handles the sound. Bert Cayer plays the role of the lovable curmudgeon beautifully. 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 electrifying where he breaks down in tears and his finally admitting he loves Chelsea during the final phone call is, too. Lisa Forsgard is wonderful as his loving and doting wife, Ethel. She is topnotch in both the comic and dramatic moments of the show. Lisa has many comic sparring moments with Bert but the standout scenes are the argument scene with Chelsea which is stunning and the final one when she thinks she is going to lose her "old poop" is poignant, too as she breaks down in tears. The couple's estranged daughter Chelsea is excellently played by Karen Gibson who recently won a Motif award as best supporting actress last year in "Frame 312". Her argument scene with Lisa is topnotch and the camp song scene with her mother lightens the mood of the show to reflect the closeness of mother and daughter. Karen's tearful moments where she handles the emotions of a woman who has grown up with a cold distant father who always wanted a son is another standout moment for her.
Kevin Fish plays her boyfriend, Bill. Although he is only in one scene in this show, Kevin shines when he comically tells the old man he and Chelsea will be sleeping together in the cabin finally standing up to the insults Norman flings at him. He also does a comic bit of running away from a "bear'' in the woods. Kyle McGuire as Billy, the smart aleck kid does an excellent job in this role. He is 14 years old and has some hilarious moments especially in the bullshitting, the cruising the chicks and suck face segments. Kyle also shines in the fishing scene where he hides behind the coatrack imitating a loon and he and Bert have a scene where he learns how to say French phrases. He holds his own in the scenes with the older performers showing his talent at a young age, he has grown a foot since I last reviewed him as an urchin in "A Christmas Carol" last year. The last member of this cast who plays the role of Charlie, the befuddled constantly laughing mailman is W. Grant Willis. 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 does a wonderful job in this comic role. So for a wonderful show be sure to catch "On Golden Pond" for a wonderful mixture of comic and heart warming moments.