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REVIEW: On Golden Pond
11:28am Thursday 19th September 2013 in Entertainments
IT is difficult to know when going to see a play whether you will like it more or less for already being familiar with the story.
My companion at Salisbury Playhouse on Tuesday had not seen the 1981 Oscar-winning film of On Golden Pond, whereas I had.
On the whole, I think she enjoyed it more.
It is a tale of the complications, joys and hurts of marriage and family life, and it has an intricacy and nuances that are, without doubt, easier to portray on screen than in front of a live audience.
That said, the elements I liked most about this play were the same as those I liked about the film – the witty dialogue, beautifully-crafted script and sparkling interaction between an ageing and irascible man and his long-suffering yet devoted wife.
Christian Rodska as Norman Thayer gave a great performance with impeccable comic timing and a wonderful pathos when needed, and Annabel Leventon was perfect in the role of Ethel.
Duncan Wisby put in an effective turn as Charlie the postman, handling his lines with comedic skill and making his mark on the show in what was a relatively short time on the stage.
Harry Emerson as the couple’s 13-year-old house guest Billy Ray was playing a character much younger than his years, and this did show, particularly in his early scenes, when attempts at teenage stroppiness veered into caricature.
The set was an extra star in this play, and the specially-composed music added a welcome extra dimension to the production.
On Golden Pond offers some laugh-out-loud moments and some very poignant exploration of mortality and the human experience that makes for a pleasant – if not stand out – evening of theatre.
* On Golden Pond is at Salisbury Playhouse until Saturday, October 5.
For tickets call 01722 320333 or go to salisburyplayhouse.com.
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