"On Golden Pond" glitters at Barksdale
Joan Tupponce reviews "On Golden Pond" at Barksdale at Hanover Tavern
Artistic Director Bruce Miller was smart to choose "On Golden Pond" for the summer slot at Barksdale Theater at Hanover Tavern.
The production is humorous and heart-warming. The play focuses on an aging couple, Norman and Ethel, who spend their summers at their home on Golden Pond in New England. It deals with a variety of issues, everything from aging to acceptance.
The play's charm comes from its gentle mix of humor and sentimentality. In their roles as Ethel and Norman, Kelly Kennedy and Joe Inscoe give the play life and believability. Their acting is honest, comfortable and heartfelt.
As Ethel, Kennedy shows compassion in dealing with Norman's crony barbs, as well as his deteriorating health. She skillfully portrays a woman who loves her husband, even though the two have different ways of dealing with the uncertainty of the future. The energy she brings to the stage helps to defuse Norman's cynical attitude.
Joe Inscoe embodies the character of Norman, a crusty old man with a quick wit and guarded emotions. Inscoe is a master at slipping into the skin of a character and living in that skin during his time on stage. He exposes Norman's lovable, more vulnerable side in his exchanges with 13-year-old Billy Ray, the soon-to-be stepson of Norman's daughter, Chelsea. Even though Norman can be gruff at times, Inscoe gives the character a relatable and endearing quality.
Other solid performances include Jill Bari Steinberg as Chelsea, a daughter who must reconcile her feelings toward her father. Eric Pastore is Billy Ray, the youngster who gives Norman a new outlook on life, as well as a new vocabulary. Frank Creecy is Charlie, the local mailman, and Andrew Boothby is Bill Ray, Chelsea's soon-to-be husband.
Special mention also goes to Terry Powers and David Powers, who have created a set that is so cozy and realistic, you feel as if you are sitting in Norman and Ethel's living room alongside them.
"On Golden Pond" resonates with people of all ages. It is heartfelt, nostalgic and witty. It's a fun evening at the theater.
The show runs through August the 29th.
For "V for Women" and joantupponce.com, this is Joan with One Woman's View.